Friday was our memorial service for the 20 men that we lost in Afghanistan. There's really nothing to write about regarding it. The weather was fittingly dark and gloomy, lots of friends and family of the deceased were present. For my old platoon, Golf-3, many former members, now out of the Marine Corps, came back to help us honor the dead. I hadn't seen many of them in a very long time. Brian Wilson, who skipped his graduation ceremony from Texas Tech, Steve 'Machine Gun' Wherry and his wife, expecting their first child, Anthony Williams, rocking out in his grunge goatee (I expected nothing less), and many more all showed up to offer support.
The magnitude of the number didn't really strike until the Sergeant Major called final roll. The first three or four names he read out were met with instant "Here sergeant major", the final twenty that he called were met only with silence.
"Sergeant Michael WASHINGTON"
"Sergeant MICHAEL T. WASHINGTON"
And the list went on for 19 more names. The only sound heard in response were the sobs from the families behind.
Dear God, where do we get such men?
What loving God has provided, that each generation, afresh,
there should arise new giants in the land.
Were we to go but a single generation without such men,
we would surely be both damned and doomed.