The 1,000th American serviceman killed in Afghanistan had already fallen once to a hidden explosive, driving his Humvee over a bomb in Iraq in 2007. The blast punched the dashboard radio into his face and broke his leg in two places.
Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht didn't survive his second encounter with a bomb this week. The death of the 24-year-old Texan born on the Fourth of July marks a grim milestone in the Afghanistan war.
Leicht, who spent two painful years recovering from the Iraq blast, was killed Thursday when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand province that ripped off his right arm. He had written letters from his hospital bed begging to be put back on the front lines, and died less than a month into that desperately sought second tour.
Yes, I realize I'm stretching the boundaries of "city" here by including Kerrville, but I mean no disrespect by it.
The article goes on to say that the first person killed in Afghanistan was also from this area.
This is what we do. Not that there aren't people from other areas who serve, of course. I don't want to give that impression either. But it is because of growing up here that I have always been a bit nonplussed by how Memorial Day is treated as just another excuse to get drunk and/or go shopping by so many people. That's how it's promoted in the media, and has been as long as I can remember, which probably sowed the seeds of my distrust of the media.
I don't have a problem with the barbecues and all, of course. Just, as others have noted, stop and think about it for a while, okay?
The other thing from the article which struck me as both wonderful and unsurprising:
Nine days before his brother stepped on a bomb in Afghanistan, Jesse Leicht enlisted in the Marines. Using Facebook to reach a friend stationed at a base not far from his brother, Jesse asked the soldier a favor: If you see Jacob, let him know I signed up like him.
God be with him...