One of the latest U.S. casualties in Iraq: Army Specialist Michael J. Smith of Media, Pennsylvania, was killed in action last Tuesday. He was 24. (And he was not the first Michael J. Smith to die in Iraq.)
The Defense Department issued the usual antiseptic press release. The news has created a little more buzz online, because Specialist Smith maintained an infrequently updated blog that hinted at how he felt about some of his experiences (“so i think i might have made a mistake,” a November post started; it concluded “this place sucks”) without elaborating). The blog itself is simple to the point of poignancy. Smith’s last post, titled “regrets, i’ve had a few,” is dated eight days before his death:
“so i’ve been thinking a lot lately.
that time at the college… nope…
those countless times in the car… nope…
the party? you guessed it… NOPE
i know i’ve always said i don’t regret anything i’ve done in my life, but i think i found one.
it’s time to call my dad. it’s his birthday today
beauty and the beast is such a great movie
i need a day off
that is all…
and all of you too
Some of Smith’s fellow LiveJournal bloggers have posted about his death (here and here, for instance). Several papers in eastern Pennsylvania and his hometown paper, the Daily Times in Delaware County, ran a feature on him last week:
“James Smith, who lives in Coatesville, Chester County, learned of his son’s death Tuesday night. Smith said the officers who delivered the news were professional and supportive.
” ‘I don’t know that I could do that job,’ he said.
“Smith said his son did not show any interest in the military as a child.
” ‘It was a couple of years ago he came to me and said, ‘Dad, I’m going to join the Army.’
“Smith said the terrorist attacks of 9/11 probably influenced his son’s decision to join the Army in November 2002. Whatever the reason, it was supported by the family.
” ‘He believed in the liberation of Iraq, and so do I,’ Smith said. ‘He died doing what he believed.’ ”