4000 Persons of the Day
MARCH 25, 2008
To commemorate the 5th year of this war and the 4000th US death, The NY Times today carried stories of a few who perished, told in their own words. It was deeply moving reading. What can an illustrator do? Well, he can draw, and maybe help carry these words back to the folks at home. Here’s to all of them and the wisdom that may come o this pain, as Aeschylus said, by the awful grace of God.
Pvt. Ryan Hill, Keizer, Oregon, killed January 20, 2007:
“I try not to cry. I have never cried this much my entire life. two great men got taken from us way too soon. i wonder why it was them in not me. I sit here right now wondering why did they go to the gates of heaven n not me. I try everynight count my blessing that I made it another day but why are we in this hell over here? why? i cant stop askin why?”
Sergeant Ryan M. Wood, Oklahoma City, killed June 21, 2007:
“WHAT THE HELL AMERICA??
“What the hell happened?” any intelligent American might ask themselves throughout their day. While the ignorant, dragging themselves to thier closed off cubicle, contemplate the simple things in life such as “fast food tonight?” or “I wonder what motivated Brittany Spears to shave her unsightly, mishaped domepiece?”
To the simpleton, this news might appear “devastating.” I assume not everyone thinks this way, but from my little corner of the earth, Iraq, a spot in the world a majority of Americans could’nt point out on the map, it certainly appears so. This little piece of truly, heart-breaking news captured headlines and apparently American imaginations as FOX news did a two hour, truly enlightening piece of breaking news history. American veiwers watched intently, and impatiently as the pretty colors flashed and the media exposed the inner workings of Brittany’s obviously, deep character. I was amazed, truly dumbfounded wondering how we as Americans have sank so low. To all Americans I have but one phrase that helps me throughout my day of constant dangers and ever present death around the corner, “WHO THE [expletive] CARES!” Wow America, we have truly become a nation of self-absorbed retards. ... This world has serious problems and it’s time for America to start addressing them.”
Specialist Daniel E. Gomez, Army medic, killed July 18, 2007:
“A few days ago I realized why I am here in Baghdad dealing with all the gunfire, the rocket attacks, the IEDs, the car bombs, the death. I have only been here going on a month and a half. Already I have seen what war really is... but officially its called “full spectrum operations.” No I don’t down Bush, he is my CinC, and I think he is doing an good job with what Clinton left him. I don’t debate why we are involved in Iraq. I just know why I am here. It is not for the smiling Iraqi kids, or the even the feeling of wearing the uniform ( it feels damn good though :) . I am here for the soldier on patrol with me.
But why are you there in the states. Why are you having that nice dinner, watching TV, going out on dates..”
Here is his letter to his girlfriend, to be read in the event of his death:
“Hey baby. If you’re reading this, then something has happen to me and I am sorry. I promised you I would come back to you, but I guess it was a promise I could not keep. You know I never believe in writing “death letters.” I knew if I left one for my folks it would scare them. Then I met you. We were supposed to meet, darling. I needed someone to make me smile, someone that was an old romantic like I was. I was going through a very rough time in Iraq and I was startin to doubt my mental state. Then one day after a patrol, I go to my facebook and there you were...
I can’t stop crying while I writing this letter, but I have to talk to you one last time, because maybe the last time I heard your voice I did not know it would be the last time I heard your voice....
I Love You. Go be happy, go raise a family. Teach your kids right from wrong, and have faith, darling. I think I knew I loved you even before I met. I love you, Katy. * Kiss * Goodbye”