|3am: This is not a game...this is war|
TomChick - News - 09/16/04 - Link
Last week I went to a quiet candlelight vigil for the soldiers killed in Iraq. There were about a hundred of us at a busy intersection. I held a red candle that kept dripping on my tennis shoes. I stood behind a short Hispanic girl who had that way of looking both 14 and 24. She was using a ballpoint pen to write a little sign that read 'I lost my fiancÚ'. She had his Marine graduation photo, or whatever it's called when they wear their dress uniforms and scowl at the camera, printed on her T-shirt.
I didn't want to ask any morbid questions, but I wanted to know about him. She said his name was Fernando, he'd died on August 15th, they were high school sweethearts, and she had talked to him two days before he died. They had a conversation using a webcam connection from his base to a computer at her college. He said it was really hot and would they send some Kool Aid? She was close with his family, and she was at their house the day three Marines pulled into the driveway and walked up to the front door.
When I got home that night, I saw that the New York Times had printed photos of all the servicemen and women killed. So I scanned the names, looking for a Fernando. There he was, scowling, that same picture from her T-shirt. Fernando Hannon, 19, a private first class. He would have turned 20 on September 28th. He was with the 3rd Battalion, First Marines who have been patrolling the outskirts of Fallujah, which we've ceded to Iraqi insurgents. Hannon had been killed by "injuries received from enemy action".
When I installed the Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault demo a few weeks, one of the splash screens read "This is not a game...This is war". I thought it was pretty stupid. But right now, with those bits of red wax still on my shoes, I find it pretty fucking offensive.