As supposedly sentient beings, we humans are all too aware that our days on this planet are limited, though none of us knows the exact time of our departure. Barring suicide or other extreme circumstance, very rarely are we given the opportunity to choose when we leave this world.
Then there are those for whom death is never far away. I am speaking of those soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marine currently serving in harm’s way. These men and women, volunteers all, serve as the shield behind which others can live safely. For these individuals, service is a way of life, not just some word that is tossed around casually; and sometimes that service exacts the highest cost imaginable: one’s own life. Many members of the military would not hesitate to give their lives if it meant saving the lives of those whom they are charged with protecting.
One such person was Army Maj. Andrew Olmsted. For him, his service was his duty and his honor, and he died in the performance of that duty and in keeping with that honor.
There are many who would denigrate his life of service due to personal, political, or even religious beliefs. There are also many who would unnecessarily bolster his death as the ultimate sacrifice a soldier can make for his country.
In his final blog post, Maj. Olmsted says to these people: “Don’t”.
And I agree with his statement. Maj. Olmsted’s death is not something to be used as a political tool for anyone to denigrate their opponents. I believe that politicizing one’s death cheapens that person’s life, and from what I gather from reading Maj. Olmsted’s final letter, he felt the same way.
As a Navy veteran, I offer a heart-felt “Fair Winds and Following Seas” to Maj. Olmsted and to all who have fallen in battle.