For Jonathan Castro – killed in Iraq, December, 2004
A year ago today I wrote what has gone on to be RockThrower’s most popular posting, an article called “Bundt Cake,” which has been read by thousands of online readers.
The heart of the article was about a promising American, an ambitious young man by the name of Jonathan Castro, who had dreams of being an engineer. The article quoted his mother as saying “ He wanted to learn about a lot of different things in life. He liked to test his limits.” He sounded, I wrote, “like a fine fellow, with a world of potential. But unfortunately, as I wrote then, Jonathan, just 21, was one of the brave soldiers fighting in Iraq who was killed in the December 2004 mess hall bombing that also killed 17 other Americans.
And so today, RockThrower is dedicated to Jonathan Castro.
Since Jonathan’s death, America has lost more pieces of its future as hundreds more U.S. soldiers have died fighting in Iraq. According to a year-end announcement from military authorities, 841 soldiers died in Iraq in 2005. Already this January, another 28 soldiers have been killed. Clint Upchurch, 31, of Kansas was killed by small arms fire, Stuart Anderson, 45, of Iowa was killed in a crash with a civilian vehicle, Kyle Brown, 22 of Virginia was killed, Nathan R. Field, 23 of Iowa was killed, Robert T. Johnson, 23, of North Carolina was killed. The names go on and on, piling up into a list, to be etched into some stone wall somewhere some day as if that will make it all right.
But thier names are not just letters on a list, they represent the very future of our country. What simple contribution might these brave young soldiers have made? What difference might they have made to your life or mine. What difference might they have made to America’s future? As I wrote about Jonathan, maybe one of them would have invented the next “Bundt Pan — or just have been a good man among his common men.” But maybe they would have been the police officer that saves your life, the teacher who convinces your son to stay in school, the writer of a book that changes how we look at the world,or a politician who prevents the next war. We will never know the holes that their deaths are leaving in our future.
And so today I am asking the few readers of RockThrower to take a minute and think about Jonathan Castro and the too many others who have died fighting in Iraq. Take a minute and think not only about the sadness of thier deaths, but about the loss of their future and what it means to their friends and family, about what it means to our country. That loss is the cost of this war. And we should not forget it. And every American should be asking the president and our political leaders if it is worth it.