Tragedy multiplied

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, August 11, 2011

The helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 38 people, including 30 Americans, last weekend was nothing short of tragic.

There are 38 more families ripped apart, 38 more hometowns that have lost a favorite son, 38 more highly-trained public servants lost, 38 more burial plots that will be filled years before their time.

The lost were fathers, husbands, sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews and uncles. They are nothing short of irreplaceable.

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But in the intense media coverage of the deadly accident, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that these are only the most recent deaths in the ongoing wars in the Middle East. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken the lives of 6,210 U.S. military personnel since they began, according to

Each of those lives was just as valuable as each of the lives aboard the Chinook helicopter that crashed on Saturday. But many did not receive the same volume of media coverage, simply because they died one or two at a time.

Indeed, many of these men and women likely were memorialized in print only by their hometown newspaper. Some may have gotten brief mentions on national 24-hour news programs that needed to fill screen time.

But failing to remember such brave sacrifices does an injustice to every single man and woman who has ever fought in the armed forces. Each life lost, each life forever altered by serious injury, each life interrupted by multiple tours overseas is valuable.

During today’s Day of Mourning declared by Gov. Robert McDonnell for those lost on Saturday, also take a moment to remember all the Americans who have lost their lives fighting these wars. Neglecting to do so would be nothing short of tragic.