Greater than 4,000

Amanda Kozma

To those of you who have not lost a loved one in Iraq, 4,000 may just seem like a number. Unfortunately, to people who know one of those 4,000, that number means a lot more. It means that 4,000 families have experienced the same kind of pain my family and so many others have felt when they received that dreaded knock on the door.

I’ll never forget when those soldiers delivered the news to my family that my stepbrother would never be coming home again.

You hear about people being killed in Iraq everyday, and you know it’s real, but the deaths aren’t a reality until they actually hit home. It’s kind of a surreal feeling, indescribable really, to see how much the death of one young man can affect so many people.

It’s easy to forget that for every one of those men and women who have been killed, there is:

• a mother

• a father

• a brother

• a sister

• a son

• a daughter

• a husband

• a wife

• an aunt

• an uncle

• a grandfather

• a grandmother

• a girlfriend

• a boyfriend

• a cousin

• a friend

• a classmate or

• a coworker who may be grieving his or her loss everyday.

Each one of those 4,000 killed had their lives cut short because they chose to serve our country. They knew they were putting themselves in danger, and they chose to take that risk. It’s difficult to deal with a death no matter what, but losing someone in war stirs up a range of emotions you wouldn’t normally experience. For me, that emotion was pride. I felt so proud that my stepbrother was willing to risk his life for others so we don’t have to. So proud that he was brave enough to make that kind of commitment to the military at such a young age. And so proud that my stepbrother was a hero to our country.

So today as you reflect on those 4,000 men and women who gave their lives in Iraq, think of their family and friends whose lives have been changed forever.

Because whether it was the first or the 4,000th soldier killed, the hurt was all the same. The war may be going on far away, but it’s affecting people in your community everyday. I don’t expect everyone to understand how it feels to lose someone in the war, but I would hope the number 4,000 means something more to you than just a number.

Amanda Kozma is a junior public relations major and the ROTC reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].