A different kind of memorial

Today’s post is really outside of the remit of the UKNIWM.  It’s about an American serviceman who died last week, serving in Iraq.  He doesn’t appear on a memorial (yet at least) and if he did, it would not be in the UK. 

But, I still wanted to share this.  It’s about the personal experience of war and sacrifice and how we remember people, things that are very central to the work of the UKNIWM. 

Major Andrew Olmsted left his own memorial.  The following is part of a statement he gave to a friend, to be published on her blog, in the event of his death.

“What I don’t want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I’m dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren’t going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in my life. So if you’re up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

Read the rest of his statement and more about Andrew

  1. lifeasdaddy said:

    In a similar vein, you may be interested to read a book called Last Letters Home, by Tamsin Day-Lewis. She compiles last letters sent home by some of the fallen of WWII. Some, like Major Olmsted, written in contemplation of death, some not.

    Letters which had either been kept and treasured by families and loved ones, or donated to the Imperial War Museum.

    Heart wrenching.

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