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A Minute's Remembrance, Please

Sarah's picture

Ladies and gentlemen and others, a moment of your time, please, in memory of one man who died at 22 -- and whose story stands for unnumbered others.

His name was Merlin German. He enlisted in the United States Marines at the age of 17. Within a year he was in Iraq. He spent nearly three years setting an example of survival -- one even his doctors had trouble believing; and then, one more surgery, one more graft, became one too many.
On Memorial Day, let him be remembered.

There have been 4,391 coalition deaths -- 4,079 Americans, two Australians, 176 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, one Czech, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, four Georgians, one Hungarian, 33 Italians, one Kazakh, one Korean, three Latvian, 22 Poles, three Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians -- in the war in Iraq as of May 23, 2008, according to a CNN count.And the LA Times has details of other casualties.

As Memorial Day approaches, let's not forget the men and women who are, today, injured, ill, or dead -- on both sides -- in this war.

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gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

One of my best friends almost died in Iraq. My father went untreated with metal in his legs and PTSD for decades before receiving the help he deserved fighting for this country. I never forget the sacrifice of the troops, past and present.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

who are still dying from these horrors---punishing those who sent this guy and all the others to "shock and awe" other people needs to happen for just a start--it'll just keep happening and escalating otherwise.

TheMomCat's picture
Submitted by TheMomCat on

May the Goddess guide them on their journey to the Summerlands. May their families, loved ones, friends and this country find Peace. Blessed Be.

Sima's picture
Submitted by Sima on

I don't 'celebrate' Memorial day. By that I mean, no bbq, no friends over, nothing in celebration. It's just a normal day, except I stop every once in a while and do some remembering and praying. I also visit my grandfather's grave; he served in WWII, and think of my uncles, one wounded in Vietnam, one killed in the Korean War, another great uncle died at Vimy Ridge in WWI. He was a Yank that volunteered for the Canadian army. I've ancestors that died on both sides in the Civil War. In fact, every war this country has ever fought has touched my family somehow.

Surely these memories aren't unique, and each family has the same story, if not wars here, than wars elsewhere? Anyway, let each remember in their own way. We want war to stop, why these memories don't make that happen is far beyond my ability to understand.

blogtopus's picture
Submitted by blogtopus on

Human beings are capable amazing things all across the spectrum... Merlin's Miracles makes me forget all the squabbles happening blogside. Every life is incredible.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

tens of thousands of iraqis, dead for an equally stupid "reason" as well. i'm long past my 'rah rah' pro-military days, but dead is dead, and all war memorials should remind us of all the war dead, in uniform or not.

excellent reminder/post.

kyes's picture
Submitted by kyes on

So sad to hear...may your soul be strengthened by the promises of our LORD AND SAVIOR.
Digital Frames

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I'll take my mother, who used to do it herself but now she's too frail. Not a big deal, just some flowers and a few minutes to recall days long past; the cemetery people put out flags on all the veteran's graves and later pick them back up, all part of the perpetuity package. My children don't seem interested; can't force them. I suppose when I am gone, the graves will go unattended except by strangers who will do it by rote, for the sake of business.

I sat with my mother Sunday afternoon, for as long as I could stand it, while she watched a "tribute" program of music and speeches from the Washington Mall. Not my cup of tea, rants about false patriotism and the need to beat the living hell out of anyone we don't like, but she enjoys the music.

One blowhard used the phrase "gave their lives" for our country. That's when I had to get up and leave. I hate that terminology. Our war dead didn't "give" their lives; their lives were taken from them. They didn't "die"; they were killed. This claptrap of romance, the softening of death and maiming and blood and pain into "sacrifice" drives me to temporarily forget I'm a peaceful person.

This endless senseless slaughter is sorrowful and painful and terrible and disgusting beyond measure, it tears out the heart, sears the mind and crushes the soul. There is nothing noble about war, and the criminals who lead us into the current butchery need to be tried and convicted and imprisoned for the rest of their lives, if only because we no longer hang, draw and quarter those who commit crimes of mass murder against the nation and the world.

We don't need anymore war statues or memorial concerts with pious speechifying. We don't need anymore graves with little flags on them. A suitable memorial to our already buried dead would be to stop killing any more of the living.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

"there is nothing noble about war." damn skippy, fuck yeah, 100% correct. war is a tragedy. every single time. it should never happen. we should all do all we can to stop it.

there are so many great things service members can do for their country. building bridges, helping storm victims, learning new skills and enriching the economy during and after service, learning about honor and duty and loyalty, and personal limits. wasting all that greatness on killing innocents is a horror greater than can be expressed.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

I'm betting on this day, his mother wants to remember the beautiful boy she loved before the accident. If those pictures are available, now might be a good time to put one up.

Submitted by lambert on


[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

It is precisely because his face is damaged, that we must look at it. It is necessary, to honor him and what he suffered, that we look him straight in the face no matter how uncomfortable it may be. We owe him that much, at least.

This is the face of war. Everyone should see it. Everyone should acknowledge what price he paid, what horror he has had to endure, what suffering and pain and sorrow came to him from war.

Putting up his “before” face is easier for us; we can keep pretending that somehow magically he is just “gone”, poof, was and now is no more. Easier for us, to pretend, and send off hundreds, thousands, millions more to the same fate. Harder to do that when we’ve looked the wounded and the dead right square in the face, and forced ourselves to see what has been done in our name.

Merlin German’s story is well-known to those who follow medical news. Extraordinary courage. I could not have endured a tenth of what he was able to overcome. How terribly tragic and sad that after all of his struggles he was in the end killed by a mistake, an error on the part of those trying to help him. Life is not fair; sometimes, it is too cruel.

To suggest that his mother would want a different picture up is an expression of avoidance, not concern for her. She loved her son as he was, and accepted him completely and without shame or rejection. She wanted the world to see him, and went out in public with him at every opportunity. Go use the Google, look up his name, read the stories of his exceptional courage and the courage and love of his family. Learn from them.

What ever you do, don’t avert your eyes. Don’t look away. Don’t pretend that it all happens in some far away place in some painless, pristine way. We owe it to Merlin German, and the millions like him, to have the courage to look him full on in the eyes and know the horror that is war. Truth is his memorial.

Submitted by lambert on



[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

BIO is right. (And how many times do you hear me say that?)

It's our duty to remember that when our government fights a war, people (kids) like Merlin German are going to be killed or horrifically injured, along with vast numbers of innocent civilians. Our government had better be right, and there had better be no other choice, or we must hold them accountable.

Bush and Cheney and the lot of them all need to be tried for war crimes, and if convicted, sent to prison for the rest of their lives.

It's not enough, but it's the least we can do.

Submitted by lambert on

I remember the quote, but I'm not sure that's what yo meant by "Hear him, hear him"....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.