Everyone’s Loss

Does any American heart not constrict at the news of the twenty-two SEALS and eight other troops who died when their helicopter was hit in Afghanistan as they went to rescue comrades under fire? Yet the way of the world is that other than those personally affected, the rest of us move on rather quickly to other events. Our individual lives, economic concerns and even other tragic incidents rush to displace our momentary mourning. And for the most part, we are sadly unaware when troops die one at a time rather than in an attention-riveting number.

The tragedy of the deaths of these outstanding young men is far reaching. We have no way of knowing what potential benefit to the world went down in that crash.  We do know that every SEAL team member faces rigorous physical, psychological and spiritual testing and that it is fair to project that these troops would have much to offer the world after their military service. Recently, there has been a spate of obituaries of elderly businessmen and scientists. Men whose accomplishments improved the lives of thousands through medical and technological advances they pioneered.  Men who founded successful businesses that provided employment to thousands and useful products for millions. How many medical techniques and cures might these SEALS have found? How many business allowing thousands to live with dignity might they have formed? How many families would they have established or expanded which would have blessed all of us? We will never know.

As this blog posts, it is the tail end of the Jewish observance of Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. This is the saddest day of the Jewish year, and one on which we recall tragedies dating from the Israelites’ years in the desert up to the current day. One’s thoughts naturally go to the millions of Jews over the ages whose lives were also violently cut off prematurely. What might the world look like had they lived? We will never know.

7 thoughts on “Everyone’s Loss”

  1. What a sad coincidence!
    People dying young is very sad as they leave their dreams unfulfilled.
    They also leave a lot of pain in the hearts of their loved ones.
    It’s just not a pain for their families but also to the whole world as well.

  2. Peter,this is such a lovely and true thought. “And thank Him for the ability to love, and the associated need to grieve. For if He were to remove our need to grieve, He would in so doing have to remove our ability to love.”

  3. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “”The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” While naturally our hearts break upon learning of the tragic loss of our heros, we can take comfort in remembering that the sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ordains all events in His creation for His ultimate purposes. It is the love that He placed in our fallen heros hearts that drove them to such a brief life of courage and greatness. It is that same love that causes us to grieve so deeply over their loss. Thank God for His love. Thank God that he is able and willing to raise up heros in our midst. And thank Him for the ability to love, and the associated need to grieve. For if He were to remove our need to grieve, He would in so doing have to remove our ability to love.
    Peter Brockney
    Charlotte, N.C.

  4. Tom,
    I appreciate your writing and hope you will take my comments in the spirit of open conversation in which I am writing them.
    As far as I know, Ramadan is not a time that focuses on Moslem loss of life, so I’m not sure why it should have been mentioned just because it is going on now. Tisha B’av was on my mind since I observe it – and this Musing is where I write my thoughts. Perhaps I’m detecting a chip on your shoulder where none exists, but if you took offense at my lack of mention of Ramadan (or Catholic or Protestant or Hindu special times, etc.) I think you read something into the piece which isn’t there.
    As to other, tragic, loss of life, I did think about writing more -including about abortion as another comment mentioned – but the Musing was turning into an essay rather than a blog. Actually, I am just deleting the rest of the response I started here because it is also getting way too long for a comment, but I will answer it instead in a new Musing. I will try to have it ready for next week, but if not shortly after.

  5. We should also think about how much those soldiers might have contributed if there had been no war, or if we had fought more aggressively in 2002 rather than shifting resources to an optional war in Iraq. Likewise we should be aware of the hundreds of thousands of local countrymen killed by the fighting, each with a family and each of those deaths surrendering another future. And finally, since the blog makes note that it is being posted at the end of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’av, we should also reflect that this is the middle of the month of Ramadan. The United States does not have a monopoly on virtue.

  6. And of the million who were killed “one at a time” in their mother’s womb each year since 1973?

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