Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I try to be very light and fun on this blog but I really couldn’t come up with anything like that for Memorial Day especially with this horrible mess in Iraq going on. On Memorial Day we are supposed to remember those who have died. Well, when it comes to Iraq, I keep thinking of Sgt Donald Walters for some reason. Maybe it’s because he lived in Oregon for a while and his death was local news, or maybe it was the whole Byzantine nature of the events surrounding his death and Jessica Lynch/507th story. Perhaps it’s because he was a cook from a maintenance unit who fought to the bitter end. I don’t know. But I keep thinking of him now and again. From wikipedia;

During initial reports after the Lynch rescue, it had been stated that a blonde soldier, presumably Lynch, had fought until she ran out of ammunition, although she later refuted this; although there has been no official investigation into this matter, it has been widely speculated that this soldier was Walters, who is also blond. Donald's mother, Arlene Walters, appeared on the CBS Early Show, making this claim, on May 28.
Army reports from 2003 state that Walters died in the fighting during an ambush that left 10 others dead; with no American witnesses to his death. It has now been suggested that Walters was separated from his unit; several gun magazines were found near the location of Walters' capture, suggesting that he may have, indeed, fought until he ran out of ammunition. Before capture, Walters was shot in the leg, and stabbed twice with a knife in the abdomen, had a dislocated left shoulder, shot twice in the back.

here's link to a vid with his parents



Don Snabulus said...

Memorial Day is such a mixture of sharing time with family, thinking about those you have lost in your own circle of family and friends, as well as those who chose to put themselves at risk towards the goal of defending our nation.

It is the last point that becomes the most convoluted, complicated, and yet it never lets you go. You hope and wish that people only are used militarily when the need is paramount and yet all too often in the last few decades, this oath to defend America becomes an oath to defend corporate market share, or an oath to protect geopolitical resources, or to maintain hegemony.

It is at these times when governments and nationalists profane the sacrifice of those who fought for nebulous or non-defense related goals in order to score cheap political points or provide a smoke screen for a broken or corrupt policy.

It is to be hoped to someone like Sgt. Donald Waters could be appreciated outside the crucible of cheesy nationalism and that his extreme sacrifice could be seen in terms of his oaths and personal sense of duty; for Sgt. Walters is a person who fought for the right things and for the right reasons and had an urgent need to defend himself as he did.

For ourselves, we can only hope that if we encounter such a state of affairs as Sgt. Walters did, that we should act in the same way and with the same bravery and sense of duty to those things which we hold dear and that, in this acknowledgment, we honor him in the pure sense that he deserves.

ladybug said...

Fortunately, most of the family we remembered today didn't suffer an extreme death like Sgt. Walters. I hope his family is successful in having their son's final actions as a record of public history.

One of the graveyards we visited today was a small one in near Cornelious, mostly filled Pre-WW I w/German & Dutch immigrants.

Our relatives however, are mostly decended from a man who came out from France's Alsace-Lorraine region to be in the private army for Hudson's Bay company.

Of our relatives there is a 10 year old girl, a 16 year old boy (both of whom died of lung ailments, perhaps tubercluosis, Asthma, or possibly the flu); as well as an illegitimate infant simply named "Baby".

Dean Wormer said...

Thanks Swine for truly putting a small face on a lost soldier.

I want to point out one aspect of that story- it was one of the only cases in this whole conflict in Iraq when our troops have been overmatched. That supply unit that got seperated was facing a good chunk of the Iraqi regular army and irregulars. Anybody that fought on under those circumstances is a pretty brave motherfarker in my opinion.

Pandabonium said...

There is nothing good or noble about war. Never has been.

On Memorial Day we should remember the dead, and the politicians who killed them.