Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day

Seen from here, they have no names. They could be any men, from any war.

Those men I remembered on Monday...

The three Badgers you already know about, if you’ve been reading here long. Good men, taken much too soon. We all know far too well that the bomb that took them could have claimed any three of us.

A sniper killed Major Olmstead while he tried to talk insurgents into surrendering, rather than running away and forcing his men to shoot. Captain Casey was killed when he went to aid Major Olmstead. Major Olmstead became the first milblogger that I know of to be killed in action in Iraq- his last post was published by a friend and spoke at length of his life’s philosophy and final regret at having died.


LTC Jack Friedrichsen was my grandfather, an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II. He died while I was in training to deploy to Iraq, just days after my 22nd birthday. In the birthday card he sent to me that year, he told me how proud he was that I had chosen to serve my country and wished me safety in Iraq. I was reading it on my bunk when they came to tell me he was dead.

Pvt. James Kern

Another man I remembered Monday was one I had only just come to know, a little. Private James Kern was a veteran of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry in the Civil War. He died in 1928 and was buried in the Civil War-era "Silent Camp" in Boise. His grave formed an empty space between the weathered rows of marble- at some point since his burial, his headstone disappeared. Perhaps he never had one in the first place. Monday was Boise's day to give him the honor he deserved.

Civil War reenacters fire a salute to Pvt. Kern


  1. Darn,
    You've got me with wet eyes this AM


  2. Only Teflon Don could have did this post so well, thanks my friend, stay safe.

  3. your tribute is well done.

  4. Anonymous31/5/08 08:39

    Thanks for the moving post!

    Be well...!!

  5. Anonymous18/6/08 13:29

    I dont think that the burials get enough media attention. It seems its imbalanced now days and more attention on the war itself

    thanks for sharing those shots