Friday, March 31, 2006

Semper Fidelis: A Marine's last journey

This story attracted my attention recently when the photo-essay portion of it appeared in a photography magazine I purchased one evening at Borders. The online version contains several additional images not included in the magazine, and thus is far more compelling than the magazine's abbreviated depiction of the events.

This is the story of the final homecoming of a 24-year-old Marine second lieutenant named James Cathey, of my former hometown of Reno, Nevada, who was killed last August 21 by an IED (improvised explosive device) in Iraq. So powerful was the blast that it virtually destroyed his body. He had been in Iraq for only a month, and left behind his pregnant wife and their unborn son, who was to be named after him. Regardless of how one feels about the war, the essential, raw, bottom-line result of any armed conflict is individual tragedy and heartbreak, multiplied exponentially, and compounded by emotions which are incomprehensible to those who have never experienced them. The Iraq conflict is no exception.

This entry consists of two links. The first one, provided here, is a journalist's moving account of Lt. Cathey's homecoming and funeral. The second link, which may be found here, is the photographic essay. Read the written account first, then look at the photos.

And have a box of Kleenex handy.

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