Wednesday, October 25, 2006

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There was a memorial service for an airman killed last week. I had intended upon attending, but as it turned out, I was off base at the time. I don’t know how he died, but I heard that he was a Security Police Officer with the Expeditionary Air Group over at BIAP.

Not too many airmen are killed over here. Well, comparatively, I mean. It’s mostly Army, except in Anbar where the Marines are. John is out there. I worry about him sometimes, although he would just laugh if I ever told him that. The last time I saw him was in San Diego – we had a steak dinner and few drinks and he was flirting with the waitress. In fact, I think several of the drinks were bought for us, if I recall. Or was it dessert that they paid for? We had a good time.

You grow immune to the little reminders. Of death, I mean. As you walk into almost any Army headquarters there is a little display. It’s an up-turned rifle with a helmet on top, and looped onto the plastic M16 pistol grip is a set of dog tags for every soldier who has died from that unit. I walked into a headquarters in Tikrit and counted eighty-eight sets of dog tags. I used to stop and remember - even if I didn’t know the person I would remember what I thought he or she might have been like. Where they came from, who they left behind… You can tell a lot from a name, or a name and a photo, if you think about it. But eighty-eight was too many.

They say that a person’s spirit lives as long as he is remembered, but I am sure that’s just a load of crap. Another myth created to conveniently dispel our fears, like God, and their being a purpose to all of this.


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