Thursday, November 02, 2006

Numbers

Night before last it was 2814.

Yesterday morning it was 2816.

Last night it was 2817.

This morning it was 2818.

Now it is 2819.

Numbers.

Not people.

Just numbers.

Who were they?

Were they married?

Children?

What were their hopes and dreams?

I awoke this morning with the intention of trying to look behind the numbers to know who they were. Not just know mentally or rationally but to feel and empathize and morn.

The headlines of today’s local Flagstaff newspaper: “Report: Flagstaff soldier killed self in protest”.

A Flagstaff soldier who died in Iraq committed suicide after she refused to participate in interrogation techniques being practiced by her U.S. Army Intelligence unit, according to a report about an Army investigation aired by a Flagstaff radio station.
Her name was Alyssa R. Peterson. She was 27.

She had graduated from Flagstaff High School in 1994 and had a talent for learning languages. While attending Northern Arizona University, Peterson, a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took a two-year leave to go on a mission in Holland. She eventually returned to NAU and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in May, 2001.

Right after graduating from NAU, she entered the U.S. Army and studied Arabic and was deployed to Iraq in mid-February 2003.
Two grieving parents

One intelligent, educated, hopeful young lady with dreams and an overwhelming conscience

Alyssa and 2818 numbers.

6 Comments:

Blogger Buffalo said...

This, my friend, hit me between the eyes with the force of a runaway freight train. This is a masterful piece and so damed evocative.

Very well done.

11/02/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger whitesnake said...

"a bachelor’s degree in psychology"

Committed suicide.

Something wrong with this story!

11/02/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger anna said...

This post makes me wish there were 2818 posts similar to it.

11/02/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger The Michael said...

Remarkable, as usual. Such a pity that this story will largely go unoticed. Many people throughout history have taken their own lives in protest, an action which many regard as a sign of instability, while I must consider such actions to be a supreme sacrifice in the pursuit of truth. She gave her life, but will she ever be given credit for what she gave her life for?

11/02/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Blazngfyre said...

I'm still sitting here stunned.

11/03/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

Every single number a story. Roger read that a 52 year old reservist was killed. 52 years old. Once you're that age, I think you've already believed that it just won't happen. The wars won't get you. What a horrible illusion.

11/03/2006 02:15:00 PM  

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