Dead Men Don’t Go to College

My Thoughts on the War in Iraq

Back on March 19, 2008 this country noted the fifth anniversary of the Iraq conflict and paid its respect to our fallen heroes who have given their lives and paid the ultimate price for what we would call freedom.

The U. S. soldier casualty count stands at 4,102 at the time of this article being written.

I, also, want to pay my respects to all of the service men and women who have accepted the call of duty for this great country and are currently fighting for the democracy of the Iraqi people.

This post is not a political post and does not seek to justify nor condemn the Iraq conflict. I am curious however, and wonder if we might still be engaged in this conflict if all of the sons and daughters of our Washington politicians were out on the battlefield.

According to CNN casualty figures, (as of May 2008), 2,182 of the fallen soldiers were between the ages of 17 and 24 years old (1,196 were less than 22).

Since this is a college planning website, I sometimes find myself wondering how many of those young men and women, especially those between the ages of 17 and 22 might be making preparations to go to, or would be getting ready to finish college at this time.

How Many of Them would have Gone to College?
How many would have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, journalists, I/T professionals?Which one of them would have come up with the next technological break-through?Maybe even found the cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease? One thing’s for sure – we will never know.For them there will be no summer parties, no college planning, no college campus visits and no college graduations.

How Many Would have been Pursuing Trade Careers?
Now I am sure that some of you are thinking, the fact that they were in the military means that they had no plans for college or further schooling.How many of them, had they survived, would have taken advantage of the training that our armed forces provides and become some of the most skilled technicians, mechanics and pilots. One thing’s for sure – we will never know.

Was this Too Costly a Sacrifice Laid on the Altar of Freedom?
It is all of this that makes my heart cry out for them, I didn’t know any of them, but after reading many of their personal stories, I got a small glimpse into what made each one so special and now I miss them.Was this conflict worth their lives?Only they can say for sure and of course…One thing’s for sure – we will never know.

Finally I want to pay my respect to all of the families, but especially the mothers of those fallen heroes. No one knows the pain of losing a child more than a mother.

I want to leave you with these words written in a letter by President Abraham Lincoln to Lydia Bixby, a mother who during the Civil War is reported to have lost five (5) sons in the war.

The following is the text of the letter:

Executive Mansion ,

Washington , Nov. 21, 1864 .

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Image Credit: Fallen Heroes

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