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Common Dreams

February's Fallen

The Soldiers
There they go, off to war,
Leaving loved ones, whose hearts are sore.
Children weep in their mothers' keep,
As they hear their fathers' leaving feet.
Wives and mothers cannot speak,
Watching them leave makes them feel weak.
But, they know they must be strong,
For they might hear the bells toll,
Dong, dong, dong, dong,
And sincerely hope that they are wrong,
That their beloveds, whose love they've won,
Will return to them when all is done.

- Amy Allison, written when she was 12 years old.

May we take a moment to linger over each of the following names--their ages, where they lived, envisioning what each might have left behind, imagining the dreams that died alongside them.... Whether one is for or against the war on terror that these courageous young men and women were fighting in, they deserve our attention, acknowledgment, respect, appreciation, and mourning. May they rest in peace. And someday, in the not too distant future please, may we learn how to live in peace.

In Memoriam

Army Spc. Eric R. Sieger, 18, of Layton, Utah

Army Sgt. Maj. Michael C. Mettille, 44, of West St. Paul, Minnesota

Marine Cpl. Richard O. Quill III, 22, of Roswell, Georgia

Army Pfc. Kenneth T. Butler, 21, of East Liverpool, Ohio

Army Pfc. David C. Armstrong, 21, of Zanesville, Ohio

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Terry J. Elliott, 34, of Middleton, Tennessee

Navy Hospitalman Matthew G. Conte, 22, of Mogadore, Ohio

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason G. Defrenn, 34, of Barnwell, South Carolina

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Keith Yoakum, 41, of Hemet, California

Army Capt. Kevin C. Landeck, 26, of Illinois

Army Staff Sgt. Terrence D. Dunn, 38, of Houston, Texas

Army Spc. Alan E. McPeek, 20, of Tucson, Arizona

Army Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18, of Glendive, Montana

Army Staff Sgt. Ronnie L. Sanders, 26, of Thibodaux, Louisiana

Army Sgt. Randy J. Matheny, 20, of McCook, Nebraska

Army Pvt. Clarence T. Spencer, 24, of San Diego, California

Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Van Parys, 20, of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania

Marine Sgt. Joshua J. Frazier, 24, of Spotsylvania, Virginia

Army Pfc. Brian A. Browning, 20, of Astoria, Oregon

Marine Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, 20, of Bel Air, Maryland

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Gilbert Minjares Jr., 31, of El Paso, Texas

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel A. Ruiz, 21, of Federalsburg, Maryland

Marine Pfc. Tarryl B. Hill, 19, of Shelby Township, Michigan

Marine Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Ellis, 40, of Ashland, Ohio

Marine Cpl. Thomas E. Saba, 30, of Toms River, New Jersey

Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris, 28, of Swampscott, Massachusetts

Marine Sgt. James R. Tijerina, 26, of Beasley, Texas

Marine 1st Lt. Jared M. Landaker, 25, of Big Bear City, California

Marine Sgt. Travis D. Pfister, 27, of Richland, Washington

Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew P. Pathenos, 21, of Ballwin, Missouri

Army Pvt. Raymond M. Werner, 21, of Boise, Idaho

Army Sgt. James J. Holtom, 22, of Rexburg, Idaho

Army Spc. Ross A. Clevenger, 21, of Givens Hot Springs, Idaho

Army Sgt. James J. Regan, 26, of Manhasset, New York

Army Staff Sgt. Eric Ross, 26, of Kenduskeag, Maine

Army Spc. Leeroy A. Camacho, 28, of Saipan, Mariana Islands

Army Staff Sgt. Alan W. Shaw, 31, of Little Rock, Arkansas

Army Sgt. Long N. Nguyen, 27, of Portland, Oregon

Army Capt. Donnie R. Belser Jr., 28, of Anniston, Alabama

Army Sgt. Robert B. Thrasher, 23, of Folsom, California

Army Spc. Dennis L. Sellen Jr., 20, of Newhall, California

Army Sgt. Russell A. Kurtz, 22, of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Laquita Pate James, 23, of Orange Park, Florida

Army Pfc. Nickolas A. Tanton, 24, of San Antonio, Texas

Army Pfc. Branden C. Cummings, 20, of Titusville, Florida

Army Spc. Ronnie G. Madore Jr., 34, of San Diego, California


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Army Sgt. John D. Rode, 24, of Pineville, North Carolina

Army Sgt. Carl L. Seigart, 32, San Luis Obispo, California

Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel T. Morris, 19, of Crimora, Virginia

Army Sgt. First Class Allen Mosteiro, 42, of Fort Worth, Texas

Marine Cpl. Timothy D. Lewis, 20, of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Marine Capt. Todd M. Siebert, 34, of Baden, Pennsylvania

Marine Lance Cpl. Brian A. Escalante, 25, of Dodge City, Kansas

Army Spc. Christopher K. Boone, 34, of Augusta, Georgia

Army Sgt. 1st Class William C. Spillers, 39, of Terry, Mississippi

Army Pfc. Justin T. Paton, 24, of Alanson, Michigan

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Scott E. Duffman, 32, of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Army Pvt. Kelly D. Youngblood, 19, of Mesa, Arizona

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hershel D. McCants Jr., 33, of Arizona

Army Pfc. Kristofer D. S. Thomas, 18, of Roseville, California

Army Pfc. Ryan C. Garbs, 20, of Edwardsville, Illinois

Army Spc. Brandon D. Gordon, 21, of Naples, Florida

Army Spc. Travis R. Vaughn, 26, of Reinbeck, Iowa

Army Sgt. Adam A. Wilkinson, 23, of Fort Carson, Colorado

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 John A. Quinlan, 36, of New Jersey

Marine Lance Cpl. Blake H. Howey, 20, of Glendora, California

Army Sgt. Matthew S. Apuan, 27, of Las Cruces, New Mexico

Army Pfc. Chad E. Marsh, 20, of Wichita, Kansas

Marine Pfc. Brett A. Witteveen, 20, of Shelby, Michigan

Army Sgt. Pedro J. Colon, 25, of Cicero, Illinois

Army Spc. Montrel S. Mcarn, 21, of Raeford, North Carolina

Army Sgt. Buddy J. Hughie, 25, of Poteau, Oklahoma

Army Pfc. Matthew C. Bowe, 19, of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

Army Pfc. Adare W. Cleveland, 19, of Anchorage, Alaska

Army Sgt. Shawn M. Dunkin, 25, of Columbia, South Carolina

Marine Sgt. Clinton W. Ahlquist, 23, of Creede, Colorado

Army Sgt. Richard L. Ford, 40, of East Hartford, Connecticut

Army Spc. Louis G. Kim, 19, of West Covina, California

Army Pfc. Jason D. Johns, 19, of Frankton, Indiana

Army Staff Sgt. David R. Berry, 37, of Wichita, Kansas

Army Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Hager, 29, of Broomfield, Colorado

Army Pfc. Travis W. Buford, 23, of Galveston, Texas

Army Pfc. Rowan D. Walter, 25, of Winnetka, California

Army Spc. Ethan J. Biggers, 22, of Beavercreek, Ohio

Army Sgt. Jeremy D. Barnett, 27, of Mineral City, Ohio

Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony Aguirre, 20, of Channelview, Texas

Army Sgt. William J. Beardsley, 25, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota

Army Pfc. Daniel Zizumbo, 27, of Chicago

Marine Sgt. Chad M. Allen, 25, of Maple Lake, Minnesota

Marine Pfc. Bufford K. Van Slyke, 22, of Bay City, Michigan

Army Sgt. Richard A. Soukenka, 30, Oceanside, California

Army Spc. Jonathan D. Cadavero, 24, Takoma Park, Maryland

Army Cpl. Lorne E. Henry Jr., 21, Niagra Falls, New York

Information compiled from the Department of Defense,, and the Military Times. For more detailed information, including photographs and links to biographical information and obituaries, visit the Military Times.

Debi Smith has a son who is almost 17 and a daughter who is 14. She looks at the ages of so many of the fallen and can't imagine what it must be like to send one's child off to war, and what it must be like when they return with injuries, nightmares, and missing limbs (as have almost 25,000), or worse, in a box. Back in 2003, when her son was just 13, she thought she'd never have to worry about such things herself, but four years and 3,170 dead soldiers later, she is becoming increasingly concerned.

Debi Smith

Debi Smith

Debi Smith -- wife, mother, grandmother, and concerned American and human being traveling aboard this small mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam--writes from her home in Ashland, Oregon. She welcomes your thoughtful comments, and ideas about how we can come together in search of common ground, at

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