Last week three Ohio National Guardsmen were killed in Afghanistan. Captain Nicholas Rozanski,Master Sergeant Shawn Hannon, and Master Sergeant Jeffrey Rieck were part of the 37th Combat Brigade. Funerals for were held yesterday. Captain Rozanski's funeral took place today in Dublin, Ohio, twenty minutes from my home.
Sadness permeates central Ohio because three men in the prime of theirs were brutally taken from us by a cruel enemy half a world away. Sad because they were husbands and fathers of little ones, including a four old, an 18 month old, and a 9 month old, among older children.
Why is it those KIA from any conflict are never described as deadbeat dads? Lazy coworkers? Unfriendly human beings? Selfish leaders?
When the media shows their faces, pictures of them with family and friends, they are attractive people. They are full of life, playing with their toddlers, hugging their boyfriends or girlfriends, husbands or wives, or smiling in uniform. Phrases about them include, "He was so hardworking. He loved being a soldier. He was a wonderful son, husband, and daddy. He wanted to make the world a better place for others."
While these phrases may be exaggerated in some cases due to the circumstances, I believe when describing military KIA they ring true about 99% of the time. The fact that these human beings were so exemplary makes it that much harder when they're taken from us.
Captain Rozanski's brother Alex (who himself has a powerful story being a survivor of Lima Company and the Marine Corps' battle for Fallujah) attends my church and is now himself a Guardsmen. After his brother's death he was quoted in many places in the media with this: "We are a nation at war, and men are dying on a regular basis over there. And people need to remember that."
How true. Rest in Peace, gentlemen.