Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Daily Dose of Depression (DDD)

“WARRINER, Christian M., 19, Pfc., Army; Mills River, N.C.; 101st Airborne Division.”
A little over three years ago lines formed outside of bookstores everywhere.  Young people came dressed in costume and makeup.  These were serious Harry Potter fans and they were on a mission.  The last volume in the  J.K. Rowling earth moving series of books was going on sale.  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was snapped up, devoured and discussed.

At the time, I couldn’t ignore the fact that among these 13 to 19 year old readers, one who might have been there to enjoy the excitement was Ron J. Joshua Jr..  The Department of Defense reported that Pfc. Joshua Jr. was killed in Iraq on July 17, 2007, when a makeshift bomb exploded near his Military Police vehicle.

Of course, the Department of Defense did not provide information as to whether or not Ron J. Joshua Jr. was a reader of the Harry Potter books. If he was, Ron Jr., age 19, did not have the opportunity to read the seventh and final novel in the series. He became one of 229 nineteen year olds who had died in Iraq up to that point.

And now Part One of the movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is premiering.   And again 13 to 19 year olds are waiting in line for the movie and enjoying life.  And still we have 19 year olds dying in wars far from home.

Last week from the Department of Defense we get this terse announcement of an American service member who has died as a part of the Afghan war-- “WARRINER, Christian M., 19, Pfc., Army; Mills River, N.C.; 101st Airborne Division.”

Nothing on whether or not Christian was a Harry Potter fan who stood in line at age 15, waiting to buy a copy of  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”  It’s a pretty good guess that if Mills River, N.C. has a cineplex, Christian would have seen the movie.  I hope the film includes this epigraph from J. K. Rowlings’ book, 

"Oh, the torment bred in the race,/the grinding scream of death"--Aeschylus

More kids like Ron J. Joshua Jr. and Christian M. Warriner will die in Afghanistan next year and in the years beyond.  Will we, a distracted and indifferent people (judging from the silence of the politicians and public on the wars in the last election) ever start to think about how we continue to send 19 year olds into “the grinding scream of death”?

As of November 21, 2010, 329 young people, age 19, have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.



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