A Stricken Marine

The news blub at MSNBC below was published today with the following second paragraph:

While an Associated Press photographer was embedded with Marines in Helmand last month, a Marine convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG. It struck Lance Corporal Joshua M. Bernard severing his legs. He was treated on the scene, but later died at a combat field hospital.

This kind of paragraph is easy to write for the AP reporters or MSNBC. Let me give it a try:

A young American named Joshua, somebody’s son, brother, friend and classmate, joined the U.S. Marines after High School. He was proud of his decision to serve his country, and he knew intellectually what he was getting into. He was sent to Afghanistan in the heat of the summer. He wrote emails home to his family and friends, complaining about the intense heat of the desert, describing how scared they all were. But he was trained for this and he was proud of what he was doing.

On a routine patrol mission their convoy was hit. It happened so fast,  there was no time to reflect or think. Joshua looked down and noticed that his legs were gone, blood rushing from his stumps. Intense pain and blurred vision overtook him. Utter panic overpowered him. He had just enough time to wonder about how in the hell he got himself into that situation. It had not been his plan to die in the dirt far away from home. He would not see his family again. There was also that photographer. Joshua noticed he took pictures of him. He closed his eyes. What a waste. Darkness. And then the pain faded away.

I think about the war differently when I put myself into the head of Joshua. Is it worth it?

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