I haven’t written here in a long time and was actually going to write something last night, while the Wife was off at a friends house drinking wine and talking about books. Things are going great over here, for the most part, other than the series of colds I have had since before Christmas, with this last one being a nasty throat thing. But then, after I finally got the kids to bed far later than normal (I think they were a little hyped about two days at school/daycare after having almost a couple weeks off.) I decided to surf my usual array of personal and political blogs and diaries that I read. One of my favorites is Obsidian Wings, a political blog that slants left but has writers and commenters from all sides, and posting rules to keep the conversation civil and interesting.
The first thing I see there is this post:
Andrew Olmsted, who also posted here as G’Kar, was killed yesterday in Iraq. Andy gave me a post to publish in the event of his death; the last revisions to it were made in July.
Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I’m glad Andy — generous as always — wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all. Beyond: Andy, I will miss you.
My thoughts are with his wife, his parents, and his brother and sister.
I have been reading this blog for years. I have probably read everything that Andrew Olmsted has written there, under his name and the name he wrote under, G’Kar (taken from Babylon 5), which he had to use because he was a Major in the Army and had been deployed to Iraq to help train Iraqi and American soldiers. He was killed in an ambush of his platoon, along with one other person. I’m not going to copy his posthumous post here, but I encourage everyone to read it as it is incredibly moving.
I didn’t agree with everything Andrew wrote, and I probably only exchanged a handful of comments with him. One of the things he says in this final post is, “If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them.” This is what I admired him for more than anything, his openness to argument. He also stated that he didn’t want his death to be used for political purposes, no matter your view on the War. I agree with that wholheartedly.
Even though my interaction with him was very slight, it still hit me like it was someone I knew. It is amazing, these intertrons, how you can make connections with people you never meet, how you can actually feel connected and like friends with people you have only even read and not interacted with. It kind of took the steam out of the happy, silly post I had in mind for last night. I read every one of the more than 600 comments on that blog post, and even left one myself.
Sometimes we read something that puts our lives into perspective. Life can be difficult at times, and we fret and worry about our problems. But we are alive. Like Andrew said in his letter, “I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.” And that is what I did. I am fortunate to be alive. To have a Wife who loves me despite myself. To have two wonderful kids. It makes me regret that I don’t take the time to bask in that more often.
Rather than write something that will have no impact on the world, I am going to leave you with the link to the words of a man whose life was far to short (I’d repost it here, but I would rather you all go over there and read it, where he left it). And I am going to spend the weekend relishing all that I have. And watching some playoff football. I think he would like that.
By the way, it is been noted that, like myself, Andrew was a huge 80’s music fan (it’s actually one of the things I distinctly remember discussing with him a while ago), so I declare this weekend 80’s weekend. I’m gonna listen to nothing but. And one of his all time favorite songs (and mine!) was “The Ghost in You” by the Psychedelic Furs, so I am including that video here.