...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, June 14, 2004
      ( 7:14 AM )
Oregon Loses Another Son

With sadness I report that the fourth young man from the Oregon National Guard was killed in Iraq yesterday in two weeks. He was killed in an ambush, one of many taking place in the last few days around Baghdad.

The ambush involved soldiers from the Oregon National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry, the same Cottage Grove-based unit that suffered the deaths of three soldiers in combat in Iraq less than two weeks ago, according to the Guard.

It underscores the danger of the mission, said Maj. Arnold Strong, a Guard spokesman. "It remains a very dangerous, hazardous environment that these guys are working under on a daily basis."


With Sunday's attack, four state guardsmen have been killed this month in Iraq, the worst loss for the Oregon National Guard since World War II. Two dozen soldiers with an Oregon connection, and more than 820 U.S. soldiers, have been killed since the start of war last spring.

It's already been reported nationally that a disproportionate number of soldiers who are serving, who have been killed or injured are from small towns across America. Most of these young women and men joined the military for a chance to broaden their world, to get some help with education, or to just increase their chances of having a better life. In small towns across this country, the mourning has continued for over a year now.

We just witnessed the pomp and display of a state funeral for a former president. His coffin was shown so often on tv last week that they might as well have had a permanent display of it down in the bottom corner of the tv screen, where most stations put their network symbols. And yet, not one coffin of a young soldier who has died in the service of this country has been allowed to be shown to the people of this country. Over 800 members of the future of this nation have been cut down in their youth, thousands more maimed and crippled for life, and yet who among us has truly been exposed to this reality like we were exposed to the "greatness" of Ronald Reagan last week?

We're losing our most precious resource, the human beings that make up the character and the future of our country. Except for those who purposely keep track, for the family and friends and for the small towns and regions of this country, who knows what price we are truly paying? Where is the media frenzy, the week-long remembrances, the somber, sobering and reflective memorials for these young men and women? Where is this nation's soul?

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