For Love of Country

Coalition forces have lost over 7,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq since the wars there started. And just this week alone, the US lost 30 troops in Afghanistan. It’s heartbreaking, devastating. Some – most – of those who perished were only 21 years of age. Young men and women sacrificing themselves in the name of hope, of peace, of freedom.

CNN has an interactive map showing the hometowns of fallen US soldiers. They’ve provided their names, their photographs, age, unit and more. There’s an option for family members and friends to add comments, to share memories of their beloved heroes. You should take a look at this map. It’s one thing to hear the number of casualties. It’s another to see the number of pinpoints that represent each of these men and women dotting the US map. Hover over a pinpoint and you will see the soldier we lost there. You will have a chance to get to know him or her in a small way. To acknowledge them. To see who they were, to put a face to each of the numbers.

The casualty maps are here – Casualties: Afghanistan and Iraq

Though we can never thank these soldiers or their families enough for the sacrifice they’ve made, we can honor their memory and we can celebrate the return of others who have watched their comrades die, who have seen horrors we cannot imagine and who have returned to the loving arms of their families.

As much as we grieve for those we’ve lost, we need to cheer for those who’ve come home. And we need to thank them all for the selfless, tireless, brave and determined strength they’ve displayed.

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Flags photo copyright: Dan

24 Responses to For Love of Country

  • Did you see the NBC news story last night about the national guard who returned from Afghanistan and surprised his wife at a baseball game? If that doesn’t bring a lump to your throat…

    I’ve been a Navy spouse for 28 years and have endured 9 six-month (or longer) deployments and, thankfully celebrated 9 happy homecomings. Really, there is not better feeling in the world than haviing your loved one back safe in your arms! And hoo boy, watching new fathers come off that ship and see thier newborn baby for the first time! I always have to take a box of Kleenex with me to the pier on homecoming days.

    Thanks for the post, Debora!

    • Oh wow. I’m so happy to hear 9 deployments and 9 homecomings.

      I did see that NBC story. What a heartwarming moment. I don’t know which reaction I loved more – her stunned expression or his stance as he took it all in. So beautiful and romantic.

  • What a wonderful heartfelt post. I could not agree more with you. These people are making a huge sacrifice, and they deserve our respect and support. πŸ˜‰

    • It’s so hard “from here” to offer that support sometimes, you know? I think just letting them know in, each in our small way, that we’re thankful and thinking about them helps. At least, I like to believe it does. πŸ™‚

  • Beautiful, heartfelt post. Thanks for sharing. Like Jayne, I saw the NBC story about the homecomings. I cried, too. I’m so thankful for their sacrifice, but it’s true, I really don’t grasp the extent of what they all do.

    God bless our military.

    • I don’t know which homecoming stories make me more emotional – when the children run to their moms/dads or when the pets do. It’s all so beautiful. I wish there were more homecomings to cheer.

  • It brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for honoring the brave men and women who give up so much.

    Great post!

    • They give up more than we can ever imagine. They’re so brave I have to wonder how they develop the strength to do what they do while the rest of us would cower at the thought.

  • Beautiful post. I can’t imagine being a military spouse. Not seeing your loved one for so long and to have their safety at risk every second would be agonizing.

    Beautiful post.

    • Agonizing is the exact word. I don’t know how they do it – for multiple tours. Not only would they ache to have their loved ones with them, but they would worry every moment for their loved ones’ safety. Their strength is to be admired.

  • Thanks for posting this – it’s always good to remember the sacrifices these brave men and women make for all of us. Having many retired military and military spouses among my coworkers and friends, it’s easy to see how much their families sacrifice, too.

  • This map brings it home. Thank you for honoring these men and women.

    • When I saw the map, it hit home for me, too. It was like a sucker punch. The numbers are staggering – so hard to comprehend. Seeing it the way CNN presents it, certainly makes it a visual we cannot ignore.

  • So true, Debbie. Anytime I see a sign hanging on an overpass or a reel on TV of a soldier returning home, I’m touched and reminded of when my brother served in Iraq. As proud as we were and remain, it was an anxiety-ridden time for our family, awaiting his safe return. My heart will always go out to our men and women who serve. Thanks for posting πŸ™‚

    • I simply cannot imagine the anxiety you experienced while awaiting your brother’s safe return. These wars have gone on for so long and too many of us are happy to know ‘someone else’ is out there fighting them. I wish we could connect more so the full impact of what’s happening is understood by all. Thank you to you, your family and your brother for the strength and sacrifice you’ve exhibited and endured for all of us. ❗

  • Sounds like an intriguing trip! Unfortunately, I can’t play these recordings for some reason.

    But I have goose bumps looking at the photos.

  • And hoo boy, watching new fathers come off that ship and see thier newborn baby for the first time! It’s all so beautiful.

  • I always have to take a box of Kleenex with me to the pier on homecoming days. I wish there were more homecomings to cheer. Did you see the NBC news story last night about the national guard who returned from Afghanistan and surprised his wife at a baseball game?

    • I did see that! It was amazing. I love how everyone cheered the moment. These homecomings are precious for the families but also precious to us as a nation. I too wish there were more but I’ll cheer as many as there are.

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