Matthews honors fallen soliders amid grim milestone

Updated
 
By Chris Matthews

We`re at war this evening in Afghanistan. This week, the number of Americans killed in that theater passed 1,000. The New York Times today showed the faces of those killed just during the past two years, which is half the number lost since the war began in 2001.

When you look at these pages, you see the ages of these men and women. You learn how young they were when they gave up their lives for their country. You see the varied backgrounds of all the states they represent. I noticed the large number of Hispanic names below the faces, and realized how many of them may have come from recent immigrant families.

But it’s the youth, the 20-year-olds, the 19-year-olds who stun you. The faces seem so young. You realize, looking over these so many faces, again, as if you`re just rediscovering that we are, indeed, at war.

Men and women are dying every day out there, especially from improvised explosive devices, bombs that can be exploded underfoot that take no account of courage or a soldier`s daring or even cunning. So it`s a good time, before the weekend of Memorial Day comes at us, and when that holiday atmosphere casts too much sunshine on the day and pushes aside the mortal sacrifice, that we look head on at the loss of life in these pictures, even as we see therein the full flower of youth.

We all hope that our president, who is sending more of our young troops to Afghanistan, has a plan, both military and political, which offers hope and human joy over there and security here at home, at all equal or even greater than what`s being lost, already lost, by these men and women, and their dear families.

I want, knowing the hard question that it involves, to salute those who gave to our country.  I thank the lost for their service. Also to their parents, I could offer only the honoring words here of Shakespeare: “Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier`s debt.  He only lived but until he was a man.  To which no sooner has his prowess confirmed, in the unshrinking station where he fought, but like a man, he died.” Wow.

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Matthews honors fallen soliders amid grim milestone

Updated