Michael is a popular name for veterans, RIP

{Editing note – This story was not meant to offend or hurt grieving families. I have left the text as it was except for removing  the sections with names. I see now that it made less sense in spots once the long list had been removed from view. I hadn’t changed the text at that time.  At the time I did not realize the implications of copyright infringement or of hurting friends and family. I have always worked from a non-profit perspective and think from an educational view. The original averages were carefully counted and calculated. It was sad information but revealed a little about our heroes. Averages represent the larger group and the veterans who are still working and playing and crying and laughing. These numbers remind of the much larger group that we need to bring home alive.}A magazine article included a list of American veterans who had lost their lives in the war effort during 2011. (U.S. Dept. of Defense as of closing time the day the magazine article was published – People Dec. 26, 2011 issue). Since 2001 more than 6,300 Americans soldiers have lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The alphabetized list included ages of the men and women who had lost their lives while working towards our nation’s goals. The article labeled the group as more than 400 soldiers – that struck me as vague. I was curious and retyped the list but with numbers – 468 soldiers names were included. A few more than 400 – thanks veterans.

Veteran’s Memorial Mall, Mqt, MI,

War doesn’t favor 21 year olds. That seems to have been the age to die in 2011 with 58 of them representing the US on the list. No one aged 18 or 42  is on the list, however one name had no age next to it in the People magazine article written by Moira Bailey, Daniel S. Levy and Kristen Mascia. Only 24 nineteen year old soldiers had lost their lives while serving on the nation’s battlefronts. There are a few women but it seems to be primarily male names.

  • 24 veterans aged nineteen years old,
  • 328 veterans aged twenty to twenty-nine years old,
  • 91 veterans between age thirty to thirty-nine,
  • 23 veterans between age forty to forty -nine years old
  • and one fifty year old veteran have lost their lives in 2011.
  • Maybe Douglas Adams was right about 42 being the meaning of life.
  • The reason young educated people are occupying sidewalks may be located on this list as well.

May all the ghosts of past, present and future holidays rest in peace.
“If you close your eyes, you will see far.” – Kenyan proverb (ed. A.Miller)


Proud mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends, and coworkers – peace and healing and a few laughs because it is too hard without a chuckle at the funny names to help with the gut wrenching I think I might know that person feeling. {Edit – I cried and still cry over this story, at times laughter helps heal and move on.}

This list grabbed my attention because it was a vague story in a magazine with the line – “more than 400 lives lost so far in 2011” – maybe it was left open ended because we don’t have the final statistics for the year. The calendar year that is, the fiscal year is wrapped up and shelved. Lives are a little harder to wedge firmly on a shelf but Honor the Dead lists are one way to try.
Harlow Park, Marquette, MI, Veteran’s Memorial Mall,

Highlighting a few stories is poignant but noticing how young the mass of them are also seems gut wrenching. There is ethnic diversity standing proud to be an American.

Also traditional moms and dads presenting their loved ones with presidential names or with a Junior for 36 of the loved ones.

The difference between public health education and epidemiology is individual stories multiplied at individual county levels. These 456 individuals could all have a family or friend that is getting WIC services in a county or on a overseas military base. It would have been one of my busier months but I might have seen them all in one month for just one of their four quarterly appointments. I wouldn’t have been alone – I would have had my additional staff,  1.5 FTE’s, minus vacation and sick time, to help.
To me 328 dead young adults in their twenties represents the potential of 328 children without a caregiver to look forward to seeing again or 328 mothers who may not be able to look forward to ever seeing a potential grandchild. I am blessed that only one name truly attracted my personal attention – I will phone a friend. During WWII, small towns would wait for the latest body list to be read on the radio or telegraphed to the post office in order to find out if loved ones were safely not on it. News travels fast now but shrapnel always traveled fast and deadly.  [Youtube -Memorial Day Taps – trumpet]

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Michael may be an angelic name; twenty nine times as angelic now and Miguel and Rafael are twice as angelic. Thank you soldiers, for serving and protecting.

Understanding ourselves and the patterns in current and past events can help guide change.
One lane bridge in use year round. Marquette, MI, J.Vjada
Bring our soldiers home -yes – but to what jobs?
Conservation Corps type jobs or Debtor’s prison and fatal 911 calls may meet our returning veterans. Renewable energy resource like windmills and bio-engineered bacteria that may be able to grow biofuel out of waste product are investing in renewable futures. Squeezing the last few oily drops of profit from the almost barren planet will only starve the land and the people, rich and poor.
7 Billion is no longer a number – it is a responsibility to the planet that we call home.
Remember to honor 468 veterans who were on average only age 26.49 years old
– and who didn’t get a chance to make it to 26 and a half, and all the other men and women who served.
*** The list of names has been saved to a file. Contact me if further detail is needed.