Monday, October 8, 2012

We Remember the Fallen

Sitting on the Oregon coast last week—a long way from South Carolina...I read about the 2,000th American death caused by the continuing war in Afghanistan. Back home my newspaper gave this soldier a human face. AP Reporter Allen G. Breed wrote the story about Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Metcalfe. He was on patrol in the Wardak Province when his unit came under small arms fire. So he became our 2,000th victim. Daniel was a 11-year veteran on his third deployment. He left behind a wife and four children, aged 11 months to 12 years.


Watching this report on TV, a grandmother named Lisa Freeman remembered back to August 7, 2009 when her own son Marine Capt. Matthew C. Freeman died from a sniper’s bullet very near where Metcalfe died later. Both men were 29. His mother, responding to the TV news of the 2,000th American death was irate: “I just sat here, reliving the pain and wondering: Where is American’s outrage? Where is America’s concern that we’re still at war? " She went on to say: “I walk around this country and look in faces that don’t even know we’re at war anymore. People that are going about their everyday lives, not realizing that they’ve been kept safe by this amazing group of your man and women who have been willing to sacrifice so much.”

Grandmother Freeman went on to say that just two days before he died her grandson, Matthew had called home in Georgia. He told his mother, she said, about the friendly locals and how cute the children were. He asked her if she would start collecting school supplies that he and the other troop members could distribute in the villages. She said that the Matthew Freeman Project, “Pens & Paper for Peace,” has shipped over six tons of school supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan.

And so the war goes on. We need to remind our leaders in Washington and at every level that we cannot forget the fallen who have given their lives for us. Strange sacrifice-less war. We must remember the fallen.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Metcalfe – age – 29 – from Liverpool, New York.
Marine Captain Matthew C. Freeman – age 29—from Richmond Hill, Georgia.
"Leave your windows and go out, people of the world,
go into the streets, go into the fields, go into the woods
and along the streams. Go together, go alone,
Say no to the Lords of War which is Money
which is Fire. Say no by saying yes
to the air, to the earth, to the trees,
yes to the grasses, to the rivers, to the birds
and the animals and every living thing, yes
to the small houses, yes to the children. Yes."

--Wendell  Berry, "Look Out" in Given


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