07 August 2009

A collective sacrifice that is still made by individuals

From the Watertown Daily Times:

A collective sacrifice that is still made by individuals

AUG. 5, 2009: A Fort Drum soldier was killed in battle the other day. Or was it the week before? Maybe I have him confused with another soldier who died with his three buddies during an explosion. Or was it just two other soldiers?

And so it goes. The U.S. is losing soldiers at such a rapid clip in Afghanistan that names and faces of 10th Mountain Division soldiers are flashing by us, giving little time to reflect on the collective sacrifice being made by these individuals.

ED: Edited out several paragraphs for brevity

Some soldiers die in a firefight. Some die in a vehicle that is blown up. Should one get more attention than the other? The father of one dead 10th Mountain Division soldier was recently called by President Obama who said his son will be a Medal of Honor recipient. Was that soldier’s death more significant than another? His late son would likely say, “I was just doing my job. I know others who did things just as important and courageous. Why me? Why not them?”

How do you give equal attention to the death of each 10th Mountain Division soldier?

I often review our previous stories and look for balance, tone and perspective. And no matter what we produced on the deaths of Fort Drum soldiers, I know it was not enough.

Our reporters work to ensure these are not unknown soldiers, even if they were not know to anyone in our community. But in the end these soldiers, who gave the last full measure of devotion, are never known enough.

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