Two years ago today, we lost three amazing men. Terry Barnich, Maged Hussein, and Navy Commander Duane Wolfe were killed when their vehicle hit an IED outside of Fallujah, Iraq. Terry and Maged were friends of mine. We worked together in the Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO) at the US Embassy. They were, literally, our two finest, and their deaths hit all of us who knew them very hard. I wrote about them in a blog post here.
Terry had a close call once before. During one of the innumerable rocket attacks on the Green Zone and Embassy, a piece of spent shrapnel hit him on his nose. After thinking about it, he announced that life was short and that he would never drink bad wine again. And he didn't.
Memorial Day is coming up soon. It was not created as an excuse for furniture sales, it was to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Most of us think of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines on this date (if we think of them at all), but you should include civilians as well. A life given for our country is a life given, no matter what clothes they wear.
For me, though, Memorial Day is a day to remember those losses in the aggregate. I knew Maged and Terry personally, and saving their remembrance for Memorial Day doesn't seem right. So I've set aside May 25th, the day they were killed, as my own personal day of remembrance. And, in honor of Terry's credo, I've tagged it as National "No Bad Wine" day.
So right now, I'm sitting here with a glass of fine 2007 Cabernet. I've also got a glass of iced fresh water in honor of Maged, who was in charge of our water development projects. Two men forever in my memory. Here's to you, guys.