Monday, May 29, 2006

New Jersey's Casualties

The Star Ledger has a special report on-line of all of the soldiers from New Jersey who have died in Iraq so far. Their pictures are posted next to a link to the articles that were written about them and their families in the Ledger and its associated publications. It is somber reading, but a fitting tribute for Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Remembering the Cost of War on Memorial Day

Yesterday peace activists from across the Delaware Valley set up a memorial to all the American Soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq. Jay Lassiter was assigned to the New Jersey section of the memorial.

You can read more about it on his blog.

Here is a picture of Jay kneeling beside the "headstone" for Army Specialist Marlon P. Jackson of Jersey City who was killed at the age of 25 by a roadside bomb.

Today I read the Star Ledger and on the cover of the New Jersey section was an article about a soldier with a "loving heart", Staff Sargeant Christian Longsworth who was recently killed by enemy small arms fire in Afghanistan on May 19th.

Below is a picture of Longsworth's girlfriend Jessica Cruz, who he had planned to marry on his return, leaving St. Joseph's Church in East Orange with Longsworth's brother and an Army Chaplain, after the funeral Mass.
I was moved not only by the expression of complete devastation on Ms. Cruz's face or even the empty gaze on that of Sargeant Longsworth's brother, but of the pained look on the face of the chaplain. If you look closely he is highly decorated Lieutenant even sporting a set of "jump wings" yet he obviosly has not been completely hardened by war.

I could not help but think back to Jay's posting about the war memorial and think of not just the faces of those who have died and the profound tragedy that is 2400 dead American soldiers and counting, but also of the pictures that do not appear on the "headstones" of those who live on forever marked by their passing. How many pictures are there really of people like Jessica Cruz? How many victims are there of this war of choice?

I hope that we will all take a minute away from the barbeque or the parade to remeber not only the fallen this Memorial Day, but also those that have to live on with only their memories to comfort them.