Friday, December 01, 2006

Thank you, Jim Lehrer

When I am here on Slayer (that is, most of the time), I always try to eat breakfast. The messhall has a good selection of eggs (to order, no less) or pancakes, and since I ask for the same thing every morning the cook just waves to let me know he's got it. So I go to get my coffee & maybe throw a piece of stale bread in the mega-toaster they have and in a couple of minutes my eggs are ready.

They have a couple of TVs in the messhall, placed on shelves in the corner the way you might expect to see it in a bar or some type of waiting room. I enjoy breakfast, and I especially enjoy just sitting there for a bit after I have finished eating, sipping my java and watching the news. Sort of a relaxing interlude before the real start of my day.

The only channel we get is AFN, and usually The News Hour with Jim Lehrer is on. If you haven't watched it lately, at the very end of each broadcast they show pictures and display the names of the men and women who have died in Iraq over the past 24 hours. No talking, no music, just the pictures, silently fading from one to another. And as soon as they start, the mess hall grows quiet.

Today there were twenty pictures, and I watched every one. Black guys and white guys and Hispanic guys, from places like Bakersfield, California, and Saginaw, Michigan. Regular guys from regular places, just like all of us watching. But not. I looked at their faces and wondered what they were thinking, and how they died, hoping that it wasn't too painful. And, like I do every morning, I remembered all the people and places and things that I had to live for.

And so, thank you, Mr. Lehrer, for reminding me of this every morning. Thank you giving me the chance to transform these deaths into something valuable, if only in my own mind. Thank you for allowing us to honor our own in this small way. And thank you most of all, for reminding the rest of the nation. I think they would have appreciated it.



Blogger KAB said...

Dear Kraig Binkowski:

Thank you so much for sharing your brother's e-mail with me. It was a crowning affirmation moment for me and my NewsHour colleagues that we will never forget.

Please pass on our best to him. Wish him well and tell him how much his reactions to our Honor Roll meant to us. And, most of all, thank him for his service.

My best always to you, too.

Jim Lehrer

December 04, 2006 11:06 AM  

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