I have mixed feelings about claims we should support the soldiers no matter what the politics of a war. I recognize that there are pragmatic as well as humanitarian reasons for doing so. When they kill they do so at the behest of the collective; they do so not as individuals but as America. I have great respect for many in the military as individuals–not necessarily because of their uniform. (And there are quite a few members of our armed forces whom I have less respect for, again, completely irrespective of their uniforms.) Not all soldiers who die in the line of duty do so “protecting our freedom,” and to say so is no more than a convenient fiction.
The photo above is for some reason more heart-rending to me than the many I have seen of spouses and children at the open graves of their loved ones, folded flags in place of their fathers, mothers, or spouses. The photo is from Cryptome, as is this description:
A young woman lays down on the grave of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Noah Pier on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. Pier was killed Feburary 12, 2010 in Marja, Afghanistan. This is the 142nd Memorial Day observance at the cemetery.
Put simply, his death should not have happened, and life–American or otherwise–should be treasured.