In memory of Leon Deraps

Whom I never had the chance to meet Leon was a Marine serving in Iraq and the youngest grandson of one of our feistiest members (and that’s saying something). His grandfather’s continuing goal in life is to warn as many other youth as possible about the realities of military service–particularly the low-income and minority youth who often see the military as their best hope for a career. Leon was killed this week. There’s an article about both of them here.

I didn’t know Leon or his parents, but my guess is that they feel his death was a necessary sacrifice for a noble cause. I think you would have to feel that way to keep from going mad. I imagine Leon felt his death would be worth it, though I wonder how many soldiers who feel that way would feel differently if they really knew that they would be the sacrifice. We aren’t built to believe in our own deaths, especially when we’re young and healthy.

My condolences to the men and women and children who’ve died in this war, to the families separated and destroyed by it, to the international goodwill squandered by it. It’s hard to imagine that it will ever seem worth it. I don’t even know whether it’s blasphemous to the sanctity of life to hope somehow that it will.

Give us a peace equal to the war / Or else our souls will be unsatisfied, / And we will wonder what we have fought for / And why the many died. –Langston Hughes