I just learned a name.
Unknown emails I seldom open; this one I did. The grief and frustration came through. David, a United States Air Force Vietnam Veteran, wanting to know at what price will we win this war.
Daniel Hansen, a Marine, had been killed on Valentines Day in Afghanistan.
I googled him. Daniel Hansen. An article written in his home town paper mentioned a left behind fiancé. His mother was still upset over a dream she had of him saying goodbye-just hours before she was visited by full military dress officers. “We are here to inform you that your son, Sgt. Daniel Hansen, …” He died from an IED; a roadside bomb.
So, that’s how he died. How did he live? Who did he root for during the Superbowl? What were the songs on his i-Pod playlist? What did he order on his pizza?
I had a lousy Valentines Day…one Mrs. Hansen would have traded for in a second. Daniel’s parents will lay him to rest in Sterling, Alaska.
The email asked, “I just sit here and say at what price?”
I have no answer for David.
I have questions; questions for Governor Palin.
The Joined Armed Service Committee of Alaska is planning a Memorial Day ceremony to honor the dead servicemen from Alaska killed since Statehood. The logistics for such an event are enormous. This isn’t a Costco run…this is big. The Joined Armed Service Committee is in charge of this event, but their charter expired in January. The first order of business in Juneau during the opening of the session was to re-issue the Committee to insure the Memorial Day plans could stay on course. I’m a nerd for Senate and House Bills and I watched SB77 sail through. Introduced on January 22nd, it was through the Senate and the House, ready for the Governor’s signature on February 6th.
I’m against the war. I know the difference between the war and the warrior. Soldiers swear away their Constitutional rights to become what is truly called “servicemen.” I use mine to support them. Were there one K.I.A., I would support a service to honor them. Sadly, there are so many more.
How do you measure the space someone takes up reading the morning paper and drinking coffee? How do you mark the effects of a lost soul? How do you fill the missing piece? How can you know the difference they would have made? You can’t. But you honor the not knowing…the vacancy. You say their names out loud.
It’s not too difficult to account for the governor’s time. There were the behind-the-scenes image-salvaging meetings regarding Senate Resolution 5, which found Todd Palin and the governor’s aides in Contempt of the Senate. There was the shady resignation of Attorney General Talis Colberg. Hosting Greta Van Sustren of FOXNEWS, up to interview daughter Bristol.
Finally, Sarah Palin found 2.4 minutes to sign the unanimous legislation to empower the The Joined Armed Service Committee. I looked at last years Oil and Gas Development Senate Bill 109 – it took Governor Palin about an hour to sign after passage. Same for Senate Bill 123 for PERS and TERS. It took more the 10 DAYS to get the governor to sign SB77! And Palin’s autograph only came after a nastygram from an upset legislator asking WTF?
Honoring 50 years of war dead takes time. Months and months of preparation and planning. Memorial Day is only 90 days away. There isn’t a day to spare. All of the planning came to a halt when the charter of the Joined Armed Services Committee expired last month. What should have been a rubber stamp stalled out with the dragging of Sarah Palin’s very expensive heels.
What was the hold up? Isn’t part of supporting the troops honoring the dead?
Tragically, the dead now include Marine Staff Sargent Daniel Hansen, 24 years old. Daniel leaves behind his fiance, Emily Campbell. They dated since 2004 and planned to marry in August. Daniel is survived by his younger sister, Katie Anne, an Army Veteran; twin brother and fellow Marine Matthew; his parents, Delbert and Sheryll Hansen and granparents.
Matthew Hansen remembered his twin brother as a “real man, Marine, brother, son, grandson, friend, lover … a real hero.”