While it is good and just that both World Wars remain etched in our memory most, since they are the "best" reminders of how utterly precious Peace is, I chose for this year's Remembrance Day post to highlight the War on Terror.
I do so because I am affronted by the gross and abusive lack of attention of the general public. This may well be the first war where the struggle of our combatants is treated as if they were performing non-hazardous routine tasks. Troopers are risking their lives every day, in defense of our way of life, and the general population is simply going about its business like if it was still September 10th, 2001 - most seems not to care, indeed, when asked their opinion about it they would be annoyed.
Below are some sober charts from icasualties dot org with western fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Which means that the US military alone suffered some 6,400 plus fatalities in the War on Islamic Terror until now. As a rule of thumb, count at least three times that many wounded and maimed - Remembrance Day is for them too. Oh... and if that 'islamic' disturbs you, if you find it 'inappropriate' - I'm sorry for you. I just call it what it is.
Some may say, 6,400 dead is nothing compared to the charnelhouse that was WO I, and indeed, on the first day of the Somme Offensive some 20,000 Brits lost their lives, which means that on a single day they lost more than three times the number the US lost in thirteen years.
Yet I feel that thus minimizing the tale of human suffering behind the graphs above would be - can I say so, as a Christian? - a sin, nothing more or less.
I've been looking for a soldier to remember, and I came across Lance Corporal James Eric Swain, from Indiana. Here is an LDS obituary - James was a Mormon:
An LDS U.S. Marine from Indiana was killed during combat in Fallujah, Iraq."He chose to serve his country and was willing to make the sacrifice."
Lance Cpl. James E. Swain, 20, of the Kokomo Ward, Lafayette Indiana Stake, died Nov. 15 "as a result of enemy action," according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
"It is such a loss, there is deep pain," said Lafayette Indiana Stake President Patrick Connolly.
Lance Cpl. Swain is survived by his parents, Daniel E. and Mona R. Warner Swain, a brother and two sisters.
A member of the Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Lance Cpl. Swain had reportedly been serving as an intelligence analyst in Osaka, Japan, before volunteering for combat duty.
"He wanted to be there and felt he needed to be there," his father, Daniel Swain, told the Kokomo Tribune.
A 2002 graduate of Kokomo High School, James Eric Swain was a member of the National Honor Society, was active in his school's drama club and was involved in many community projects.
Daniel Swain said his son was the type of person who unknowingly touched many lives.
"James was an endearing person," the Marine's father told the Kokomo Tribune. "He tried to be invisible to everyone, even though he is 6-feet tall and a redhead. He was a practical joker."
Lance Cpl. Swain had reportedly hoped to study at Brigham Young University after finishing his military commitment.
A memorial scholarship in Lance Cpl. Swain's name is being created at Kokomo High School.
"It will be given to a student with good grades in a service position," Principal Harold Canady told the Kokomo Tribune. "James was so noted for his service to the high school. He was always involved in helping people."
Principal Canaday described Lance Cpl. Swain as an "All-American boy."
Charlie Hall, a former coach at Kokomo High School, told the Kokomo Tribune that Lance Cpl. Swain was a person who would do anything that needed to be done, without hesitation.
"I bet he was one heck of a Marine," Mr. Hall said. "Anything he tried, he did to the fullest. He did well. I think it says a lot about the quality of our service people if there are people like James serving."
Memorial services were held for Lance Cpl. Swain on Nov. 23.
Lance Corporal James Eric Swain was just twenty when he fell. I won't use words to try to express some gratitude since they would ring false in my own ears. I will just say that I am ... incredibly humbled by the example of this young man.
One last word. What the graphs above do not show are the losses suffered by the Iraqi Army and Police and their Afghan counterparts. I have no data for the Afghans, but the tally for the Iraqis would have been close to 13,000. While I loathe anything islamic, I recognize the huge value of their sacrifice in combating an even seedier strain of their 'faith'. I do not publish here a number for the Iraqi and Afghan civilian deaths, which, believe me or not, I deplore immensely. But all these people ultimately died because of the incompatibility of islam itself within the upward movement of humanity through the ages. We in the West, we did not seek this war, all this suffering and death. The reason for it all merely lies in islam's inherent incapacity to offer its adherents a just, safe and prosperous society - AND in its inherent incapacity to live at peace with its surrounding civilizations and belief systems.
The sooner we realize that, the sooner the suffering will be over.
Pray for the dead and wounded and their loved ones.