This is one of those times when it seems like I should say something — something wise, something poignant. And yet, in the face of greatest single day loss of life in the 10-year history of this war, every word that crosses my mind is offensively inadequate.
How do I quantify, much less honor, such a significant loss of life? How do I put into words the 30 American and eight Afghan families who are living out their worst nightmares today?
Very early Saturday morning a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan west of Kabul, killing 30 American and eight Afghan troops. The Taliban, of course, has claimed credit for crash, no doubt gloating in the knowledge that among the dead are members of Navy SEAL Team 6, the same unit that killed Osama bin Ladin.
I’m in Virginia Beach as I write this, which is home to many of the dead SEALs and their families, and I know that in houses just miles — maybe less — from where I now sit, utter devastation has settled and people’s lives have been forever altered in the space of just hours. I can’t even imagine their pain.
As military families we are reminded on days like this that there but for the grace of God go we; that we are never more than a deployment away from receiving that dreaded knock on our doors. I am so grateful for how lucky my family has been throughout this war but puzzled at the same time, wondering why other families haven’t experienced the same luck. And as an American I am so grateful for the brave troops and their brave families who continue to look this evil, this fear, this possible devastation in the face — and deploy again anyway.
Here today in Virginia Beach, just as at home in Fayetteville, I am honored to walk among families such as these knowing that, despite the considerable risks, there are people still willing to step forward and fight.
God Bless America.