2006-09-01 / Editorial/Opinion


So Far Away, So Close To Home

Lance Corporal Michael D. Glover, U.S. Marine Corps, 28, came home last week, not as his friends and relatives envisioned it, running into the house in his signature black denim jacket and baseball cap, but wrapped in the flag of his country, killed by a sniper's bullet in Fallujah, Iraq on August 16. So far away for a young man so tied to the peninsula where he grew up, surfed, socialized and developed the sense of honor and duty that led him to postpone law school and join the Marines after 9/11. His funeral was held last Saturday at his home parish, St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor. Thousands lined Rockaway Beach Boulevard, many of them carrying American flags. Dozens were in uniform or marked as veterans of other, earlier wars. None of the war protestors that had marred other military funerals showed up for Glover's. Perhaps they couldn't find Rockaway. And yet there was a feeling in the pro-military crowd that too many young men had died in Iraq for a cause that seems at best to be segmented, elusive and perhaps, lost. Two women crushed up against the playground fence by the crowd on Beach 129 Street were talking about Iran's arrest of a famous activist because she shook hands with a man, something prohibited by the orthodox Muslim religion. Others talked about Iraq being on the verge a religious civil war and that young men such as Glover are caught in the middle of something they can't control, or change, no matter how hard they or this nation try. Deaths during battle in foreign wars are often an abstraction in American communities until one local resident comes home to be put to rest. That is the case with Lance Cpl. Michael D. Glover, Rockaway resident. The war is no longer an abstraction and perhaps it is time we honor Glover and the more than two thousand others who have died by saying that enough is enough.

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