I want you to ponder that number for a moment.
739 days ago it was April 22, 2002. Just over two years ago. Annother 739 from now it will be May 9, 2006. But, I give you those dates as a reference as to how big a number 739. The significance? 739 is the currant number of dead reported since the beginning of the Iraq war.
Viet Nam used to always seem distant to me. Even after seeing a traveling, half-scale replica of The Wall Sept 13, 2001 here in Salt Lake, it still didn't seem concrete.
Last summer, annother traveling wall came to Salt Lake. This one contained all the names from The Wall in Washington. There, I took the opportunity to rub the name of the person closest to my family to have died in Nam.
His name was Shirl. He was engaged to my Aunt. At the time, I had never met anyone from his family (I now happen to work with his sister). Suddenly, I instantly became connected to not just a name, but a person.
739 represents people, not just names. Tonight, Ted Koppel will read a list of names 739 or so names. He will also show the pictures. Even if we do not watch tonight (I probably won't), lets bow our head in a moment of silence to respect those we've lost.
Here is a random sampling of names. At the end of a few selected posts, I will add a few names, as a tribute. These young men a women are not respected enough. I do this to honor them.
2nd Lt Therrel S Childers, Age 30, Harriston, Miss., Mar 21, 2003
Staff Sgt. Thomas W Christensen, Age 42, Atlantic Mine, MI, Dec 25, 2003
Sgt. Michael D Acklin II, Age 25, Louisville, Nov 15, 2003