In a happier the world the remembrances of Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day would all be old ones told in peacetime, jolly boot-camp stories for the kiddies and the civilians, mostly. A veteran eventually learns to keep other matters in his heart, and to change the subject or simply walk away discreetly when someone who got no closer to war than his dime-store camouflage and collection of John Wayne films begins some hand-me-down, second-hand, thousand-yard-stare yarn. He heard it from his buddy, you see, and his buddy was a Green Beret / Army Ranger / CIA commando / Marine / Navy SEAL / special operative in an organization so secret that blah-blah-blah, so he ought to know, eh.
But in the middle of a long, long war the stories of the long-ago, even the funny ones about some barracks buffoonery, somehow seem inappropriate. Soldiers are dying now, some shot in the back by a self-indulgent, emo ess of a bee whose duty was to watch their backs.
The Wall Street Journal, Fox, and other sources have told us something of the thirteen unarmed Americans murdered last week:
Lt. Col Juanita Warman, 55, of Maryland was a physician’s assistant with two daughters and six grandchildren. She worked her way through the University of Pittsburgh.
Major Libardo Caraveo, 52, of Virginia came to America from Mexico in his teens. He earned his doctorate in psychology at the University of Arizona and worked with special-needs children in Tucson schools before beginning private practice. He was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Capt. John Gaffaney, 52, of California was a psychiatric nurse who also was on base clearing for Afghanistan. He served in the Navy and then in the California National Guard as a young man, and two years ago managed to get back into the service to help the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan deal with the trauma. He is survived by a wife and a son.
Captain Russell Seager, 41, of Wisconsin joined the Army a few years ago, and was a psychiatrist who wanted to help soldiers returning from war adapt to civilian life.
Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow, 32, of Indiana was helping train soldiers on how to help veterans home from the wars with the paperwork. He and his wife have a 13-year-old daughter.
Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Wisconsin told her mother she was going to get Osama Bin Ladin. Sergeant Kreuger’s mother told her she couldn’t take on Osama by herself.
“Watch me,” she replied.
And maybe she would have, if she hadn’t been murdered by an American Army officer before she got the chance.
Sergeant Amy was to have been posted to Afghanistan in December.
Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, 22, of Oklahoma had been in the Army for almost four years, including a tour in Iraq. He had been married only two months.
Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, of Tennessee was assigned to the 16th Signal Company at Fort Hood.
PFC Aaron Nemelka,19, of Utah joined the Utah National Guard as his form of service instead of going on mission for his church. He was to be sent to Afghanistan in January.
PFC Michael Pearson, 22, of Illinois had telephoned his parents only two days before his death to tell them he would be home for Christmas.
PFC Kham Xiong, 23, of Minnesota was a father of three whose family has a tradition of military service. Both his grandfather and his father fought against the Pathet Lao and the Viet-Cong, and his brother, Nelson is a Marine in Afghanistan.
Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21, of Illinois loved poetry and dancing. She had just returned home from Iraq, and was a career soldier.
Michael G. Cahill, 62, of Texas was a civilian employee, a physician’s assistant back at work after a heart attack two weeks before. He and his wife, Joleen, were married for 37 years. He was much loved for his many beyond-the-call-of-duty kindnesses to young soldiers returning from the war or on their way overseas.
Thirteen good Americans.
“Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.”
- Roman Missal