• Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht, 24, of College Station, Texas, died May 27 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
• Army Maj. Ronald W. Culver Jr., 44, of Shreveport, La., died May 24 in Numaniyah, Iraq, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive.
• Army Pfc. Christopher R. Barton, 22, of Concord, N.C., was killed by enemy small arms May 24 in Khowst province, Afghanistan.
News agencies today have pointed out the first name, Jacob Leicht, was the 1,000th serviceman to die in Afghanistan. A number only marks a 'milestone' - A name marks a life. It's the first thing we receive in life, and when we hear the name of a friend or family member, it is associated with a face, a personality, and memories. On Memorial Day we pay homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but since it's done collectively we lose a personal connection.
Please comment, and give the NAME (first name only if you have privacy concerns) of someone who lost their life in service to their country. It doesn't matter which war. It can be a family member, an ancestor, the friend of a friend, or even someone you read about.
It's not going to be engraved on any monument, and this post will soon disappear - but you will have remembered someone's name.
LTJG ROBERT WHITESIDE, UNITED STATES NAVY, 1944-1969, my friend.