There is a scene in the excellent movie Taking Chance where Kevin Bacon, playing Marine LtCol Michael R. Strobl, studies casualty lists during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
That resonated with me because I did the same thing, as did many others during that time. Each name represented a shattered life and a heartbroken family back home. It was an emotionally draining experience.
Over the years, the number of names decreased and today, very few people outside of the military and veteran communities give a second thought to the fact that thousands of young lives are still in harm’s way.
Tonight I looked at the casualty list again. DOD keeps an up-to-the-minute accounting of casualties in various theaters of war and posts them on the Defense Casualty Analysis System webpage.
Since October of 2014, or slightly over a year, 32 American lives were lost in overseas contingency operations.
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (Afghanistan): 21 deaths (11 hostile, 10 non-hostile); 78 wounded in action
Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq): 11 deaths (1 hostile, 10 non-hostile); 5 wounded in action
Our troops are still out there. The world is still a very dangerous place. Support them however and whenever you can.
They are the reason we are free, and why our children will be too.