By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
I can’t explain it but sometimes I just wonder about things. In this case I went online and checked Department of Defense and FBI stats and surprised myself.
Coalition forces in Afghanistan include USA, UK, Canada, France, and Germany.
Combat deaths by “hostile action” for all said forces for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 total 50.
Lower than I thought. Let’s add Iraq, same period: deaths—14, for a grand total 64.
That’s right: 64 deaths by hostile action both zones for three (3) years=64!! Three years.
A sobering fact
Police officers murdered by guns in the United States of America (source Officer Down Memorial Page):
Total……..105!! (total corrected, pardon my bad math–Thonie)
This doesn’t include death by stabbing, vehicular assault, or any other method. Check the numbers for yourself. Ninety-two (92) cops died over a period of two (2) years.
Something is really wrong here.
It began with a long, slow seemingly endless procession of black and white under a sea of flashing red and blue. Pedestrians, momentarily confused, reacted in assuming an awkward civilian attention, some with hand over heart in respect.
The smell of freshly turned earth, the cloying scent of flowers, hushed voices, a choked sob, the mournful wail of the piper, a muffled bugle, taps, rows of blue, black-banded badges, white gloves, mirror sunglasses, stiff almost self-conscious salutes.
The sharp, crisp snap of the honor guard, polished visors low on forehead over stern visage, the familiar, “whomp, whomp” as a low, fast, tight formation of helicopters suddenly appears. The gasp of the crowd as one suddenly peals away.
Visible flinch at first volley, again and yet again. Seven rifles as one. Women with vacant stares, uncomprehending children with brave faces.
The world now shifts to black and white in slow motion. An ancient memory:
Black draped artillery caisson, gleaming riderless black horse, rear facing boots in stirrups.
A thunder of muffled drums. The honor guard now moves with slow deliberate “mime-like precision.” The flag is folded once, then again lengthwise. Now starting at the stripe end a series of triangular folds, thirteen in all. The presenter takes great care to ensure a “perfect” triangle.
Kneeling and presenting with the straight edge to the recipient, “On behalf of a grateful nation…”
Aside: the number of folds has a number of explanations however 13 to represent the original colonies is most widely accepted. The triangle, to represent the tri-cornered hat worn by the patriot/minutemen.
The 21 gun salute has been with us since the 15th century; however I like the fact that 21 is the sum of the numbers in 1776.