I did not hear the train at all. I did not hear the horn as it was approaching the intersection. I only heard it right about three seconds before it slammed into the back of the tractor-trailer.Midland, Tx. resident Joe Cobarobio • Discussing the train accident during the parade he was filming on Thursday — a Show of Support parade for veterans of war. Four people died in the accident on Thursday. A dozen of the victims in the accident — whether killed or injured — were veterans of the Iraq or Afghan Wars.
Part of me can still see this little boy scurrying around in the balcony of our church. I just cannot believe that he’s gone.New Zion Baptist Church pastor Reverend William Wright • Remembering Army Spec. David Hickman, the 4,474th and final United States military casualty of the war in Iraq. Many who were close to Hickman recently spoke with The Daily, sharing their memories of the former athlete and tae kwon do black belt, six months after he was killed by an IED while driving through Baghdad. source (via • follow)
For the first time in nine years Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq. We are winding down the war in Afghanistan…after a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.President Barack Obama • During a speech given at Arlington National Cemetery this morning, honoring America’s current, former, and fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. While noting that the end of the wars meant an end to this chapter of many citizens’ lives, he also noted that the families of those who lost loved ones will long be affected. “As long as I am president we will make sure you and your loved ones will receive the benefits you have earned and the respect you deserve,” said the President, adding, “America will be there for you.” source (via • follow)
Here’s a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof • In an opinion piece on the death of soldiers after they return home. A few other key stats — more former soldiers have committed suicide after returning home than died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, being a veteran doubles the risk of suicide, and being a veteran between ages 17 and 24 quadruples the risk. Yikes. Read up on this disturbing trend.
» Audit time! With the Iraq War’s chapter effectively closed, now’s apparently a good time to look back at all the money we spent there. There’s a problem, however: Of the $3 billion the Iraqi government set aside for the Department of Defense to use for reconstruction between 2004 and 2007, approximately two-thirds of that is unaccounted for. Worse, auditors can’t even find most of the documents: ”From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports,” an audit says. “However, it can locate only the first four reports.” Ever lose track of like $2 billion bucks? It’s fun, right?
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives. We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.Obama’s introductory lines in tonight’s State of the Union. Nice. “For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq,” he continued. “For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home. These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces.”