Arlington West Hits Home
So, I went to help my girlfriend and her mom at Arlington West, a weekly memorial to the American military men and women who have fallen in Iraq. Every Sunday, members of Veterans for Peace line up 3000 crosses and use rubber bands to attach laminated nameplates to some of them. As there are now 3706 deaths, they only put up plates that have been visited. We got there late, and I was going down one of the last rows, and most of the soldiers were from Washington, Oregon, and CA; places where you’d expect visitors to come from. And then I saw this:
Right in front of me, was a guy from my home town. Not a nearby town, not another philly suburb, Media, “everybody’s hometown.” In case you can’t read it, his placard says: “Killed January 11, 2005 when his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade in Ramadi, West of Baghdad.” He’s 24 though you can’t see it. The little flower sticker is from whoever came to visit and pay tribute to him. I went looking to see if his picture was up.
There he is, unless there’s another Michael J. Smith. I teared up. Here was this guy, not much older than myself, from my hometown, and I found him. What’re the odds?
That second sticker is mine, and so are the flowers. RIP Micheal J. Smith. It’s the Children’s Crusade all over again.