Thursday, January 11, 2007

Beyond the Casualties

Blogtopia (ysctp*) and the media are filled today with reaction to BushCheney's speech (Meet the New Way Forward. Same as the Old Way.) so I don't have anything much to add other than a string of expletives and more anger. The increased tempo of the escalation will no doubt increase the bloodshed on all sides in Iraq. Expect to see more boxes flying into Dover Air Force Base.

We all know pretty much what happens when a soldier dies. A family is suddenly ripped asunder; life as they've known it is changed forever. Less known is what happens to the individuals who assist the families. I came across two articles that describe the impact on them.

A recent Washington Post article focused on the Arlington Ladies, volunteers who attend funerals at Arlington National Cemetary to ensure that no one is buried alone. Before Iraq, most of the funerals they attended were for older veterans who died long after their service. These days the rites include many very young service members and the duty becomes more difficult.

A second article about the Maine National Guard personnel who notify next of kin also highlights a difficult duty. While the duty is not dangerous, it is emotionally draining.

None of this suggests that this duty is worse than combat. I point it out simply as a reminder that the impact of the war spreads far and wide.

(* yes, skippy coined that phrase!)

(Hat tip to Alternate Brain for the link to the story about the Maine National Guard.)


Anonymous Pierre/Candide's Notebooks said...

Thanks for that Rez.

3:11 PM  

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