This is my small contribution to the Iraq Blogswarm.
I am a member of an increasingly smaller group of Americans. I am a person who has not lost a close friend or relative to this war. But I don't live in a bubble. I do know some who have been directly affected by this travesty that has taken almost 4000 members of our armed services from us; this insanity that has left hundreds of thousands of our military members wounded and many permanently disabled.
The most personal was a girl my wife used to work with. Months before, she got engaged. This was just before her fiancee was called up and sent off to Iraq. She hung on every news report coming out of Iraq, always worried that the worst would happen. Just a month before he was scheduled to come home, he was killed. Many of you have heard or been a part of similar stories and my heart goes out to all of you.
I also work some weekends as a wedding DJ. Most of the time, I don't know too much about the people I am working for (I work for a larger DJ company that just gets me the show). But one time, late last fall, one of the couples I was working for brought me much deeper into their personal story. The groom and his brother both were serving in the Marines. The groom had already served one tour in Iraq and expected to have to go back. His brother was in Iraq during the wedding. Even so, he wanted to have a part in his brother's wedding. He sent his mother a video toast from the front lines. This was a complete surprise to the bride and groom and I don't think there was a dry eye left in the room afterward. Every time I hear of a local soldier killed, I pray that it is not a member of this couple's family.
These aren't unique stories, many of you others writing for this blogswarm I'm sure have much more personal stories of loss and bravery. I just want to add my voice to those honoring these brave soldiers' sacrifices. I ask that we don't use this loss to seek further revenge; that we don't fall into the trap of "we can't let these soldiers die in vain." They didn't die in vain; they died reminding us how precious all lives are. They died showing us how valuable and important an asset a strong military truly is and how it shouldn't be used fighting a lie like this war is.
I want to leave you with one good thing this war has done. It has brought an entire generation of citizens directly into the political process. It has shown us that politics isn't some nebulous thing that only affects us at tax time. It has shown us that politics is personal and can reach into our lives and tear out a part of us.