Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Week: Prayers for peace, remembering our soldiers sailors and Marines who died in the last year

A few of us gathered at noon on Monday in the worship nave of St. Paul's to say a few prayers for peace from the prayer book, and to read the names of all of the soldiers, sailors and Marines who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since last Easter. All of them.

At first there was only Paula Kettlewell and myself, and we agreed we would say them all if only we were the ones to hear them.

And then another member of our parish came, and another. And then a few students. By 12:30 pm there were 10 of us in the church. It took us a half-hour, taking turns, to read all of the names.

When we finished, we prayed our Confession, and then we shared the Holy Eucharist together gathered around the Holy Table.

I must confess that as we started reading the names, I looked down at the first page and thought for a moment that it is just too many names, and maybe I should just shuffle the pages and read the last page and call it done. I read the first two names: "Robert Collins, Anthony Blount. . ." Then I kept going. Paula took the next page. And then another took another page. On we read.

All of these name have been read aloud in our church during the week they had died (or the week their death was publicly reported). Every week we add their names to the prayers of the people. Some weeks the list is short, other weeks there is a major engagement, and the list is long. It is always painful to hear, and our intercessors who read the names sometimes choke with emotion or tear up. We read the names every week at St. Paul's Memorial Church no matter what.

There was something about hearing all of the names read all at once on Monday that was different. There were Anglo Saxon names, Hispanic names, Asian names, and many names that were a mix of many nationalities, like Diego Solorzanovaldovinos. There were Muslim names like Jamal and Vietnamese names like Tevan Nguyen.

Most of the dead were men, but there were women on the list: Faith Hinkley, from the week of August 14, and Barbara Vieyra from the week of Sept. 18. That same September week, we also read the name of Brendan Looney, a member of the University of Virginia graduating class of 2004.

So many names, most of them young, many only teenagers. Most of them were the age of the kids in my youth group in my congregation in Sacramento.

Later, I looked up the first two names that we read. Robert Collins was 24 when he was killed in Iraq. He was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army. The second name on our list: Anthony Blount, 21, was a Private 1st class from the same unit. They died together on April 7, 2010 -- Easter Week last year -- when a roadside bomb demolished their vehicle. They never saw who killed them.

Lt. Robert W. Collins
Here is the announcement from the Department of Defense about their deaths:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of Lt. Robert W. Collins, 24, of Tyrone, Ga., who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. He died April 7 in Mosul, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Ga. Killed with him was Pfc. William A. Blount, 21, of Petal, Miss. They had only been in Iraq since the fall of 2009.

He is survived by his parents Deacon and Sharon Collins and Nicolle, his childhood sweetheart and girlfriend of eight years.

An obituary for Pfc. William A. Blount noted that he was a devout Mormon, and then said this:
His wife, Amanda, is eight months pregnant with their daughter Avery, and he was scheduled to be home for her birth.
Pfc. William A. Blount
I cannot imagine the pain of the families and loved ones both of these men left behind. I cannot imagine what this last year has been like for William Blount's wife and his parents, or Robert Collin's "sweetheart." I wonder how baby Avery is doing; her first birthday is right about now.

The Department of Defense announced today. . .

We ask a great deal of our young, a great deal of those who volunteer to wear a uniform and serve our country. They go where we send them, and they die on battlefields and roadsides far away. We read their names in church on Sundays, and we read their names once again on Monday in Holy Week. We remembered again their supreme sacrifice, and reminded ourselves of the terrible human cost of war. Monday was not about politics, or foreign policy, or elections, or Republicans or Democrats or Tea Parties or MoveOn.org.

It was about soldiers dying in wars far from home because we send them there and they go.

We read their names because they deserve to be remembered, to have their names spoken out loud again. They deserve to have their names fill the air and ring in our ears one more time. Maybe by hearing their names we remind ourselves that our leaders bear a tremendous responsibility when they send our soldiers to war, and we bear a tremendous responsibility by electing them. May God have mercy on our souls.

Here are the names of the soldiers, sailors and Marines who died in these wars since last Easter. The least we can do is hear their names again. The list is long.

The Department of Defense announced today . . . 


Robert Collins
Anthony Blount
Kurt Kruize
Roberto Diaz Borio
James Lackey
Randall Voas
Curtis Swenson
Michael Sweeney

Joseph Caron
Sean Durkin
Michael Jankiewicz
Jonathan Hall


Charlie Antonio
James Patton
John LaBorde
Robert Barrett
Randolph Sigley
Michael Ingram


Keith Coe
Christopher Worrell
Thomas Rivers
Nathan Kennedy
Grant Wichmann
Ronald Kubik
Jason Santora


Ralph Mena
Anthony Magee
Wade Slack
Richard Penny
Brandon Barrett
Austin Benson
Harvey Holmes
Mark Coleman
Eric Finniginam
Salvatore Corma


Essau Gonzales
Dennis Kisseloff
Joshua Desforges
Donald Lamar II
Jeffrey Johnson
Kenneth May Jr.
Kurt Shea
Jeremy Brown
Kyle Comfort
Joshua Davis


Shane Barnard
Patrick Xavier Jr.
Joshua Tomlinson
Richard Tieman
Thomas Belkofer
Paul Bartz
John McHugh
Nicholas Paradarodriguez
Billy Anderson
Adam Perkins
Zarian Wood


Roger Culver
Amilcar Gonzales
Stanley Sokolowski
Edwin Rivera
Christopher Barton
Jason Fingar


Francisco Guardado-Ramirez
Alvaro Sessarego
Jonathan Peney
Anthony Diliso
Jake Suter
Jacob Leicht


Christopher Opat
Michael Bailey
Jeffrey Sandfest
Benjamin Osborn
Brian Anderson


Jacob Dohrenwend
Michael Cassidy
Israel Obryan
William Yauch
Steve Theobald
Russell Madden
Anthony Justesen
Joshua Dumaw
Eddie Turner
Claudio Patino IV
Kevin Cueto
Andrew Looney
David Miller
Scott Andrews
Timothy Serwinowski
Brandon Silk
James Hunter
Benjamin Park
William Ortega
Nathan Cox


Johnny Lumpkin
Morganne McBeth
Bryant Haynes
Ryan Grady
Larry Harris Jr.
Matthew Hennigan
John Rogers
Khristopher Chapleau
Eric Shaw
David Thomas
William Richards
Joseph Caskey
David Holmes
Jared Punk
Blair Thompson
Daane DeBoer
Robert Repkie
Edwardo Loredo
Joshua Dumaw
Andrew Looney


Jordan Tuttle
Louis Fastuca
Christopher Cabacoy
Edwin Wood
Jerod Osborne
Keenan Cooper
Andrew Creighton
Jacob Dennis
Clayton McGarrah
David Wisniewski
David Jefferson


Chase Stanley
Jesse Reed
Matthew Johnson
Zachary Fisher
Brandon King
Christopher Stout
Sheldon Tate
Christopher Moon
Nathaniel Garvin
Christopher Antonik
Shaun Mittler
Carlos Negron
Jesse Ainsworth
Robert Crow
Donald Edgerton
Tyler Roads
Joseph Dimock
Daniel Raney
Anthony Simmons
Marc Arizmendez
Michael Pridham
Roger Lee


Michael Runyan
Julio Vargas
Brian Piercy
Paul Miller
Joe Wrightsman
Christopher Eastman
Robert Bennedsen
Anibal Santiago
Justin Allen
Matthew Weikert
Jesse Tilton
Justus Bartelt
Dave Santos
Leston Winters
John Jarrell


Jason Holbrook
Kyle Warren
Shane Martin
Abram Howard
Frederik Vazquez
Conrad Mora
Daniel Lim
Joseph Bauer
Andrew Hand
Jerod Newlove
Justin McNeley
James Oquin
James Weis
Mario Carazo
Julio Vargas


Jared Van Aalst
Kyle Stout
Michael Stansbery
Jason Holbrook
Kyle Warren


Faith Hinkley
Christopher Karch
Jose Saenz III
Kristopher Greer
Rob Burnham
Paul Cuzzupe
Bradley Rappuhn
Andrew Nicol
John Andrade
Vincent Gammone III
Kevin Cornelius
Max Donahue


Christopher Wright
Jamal Rhett
Cody Childers
Martin Lugo
Collin Thomas
Christopher Boyd
Kevin Oratowski
Edgar Roberts
Derek Farley
Benjamen Chisholm
Charles High IV
Michael Bock


Brandon Maggart
Justin Shoecraft
Robert Newton
Ronald Rodriguez
Steven Deluzio
Tristan Southworth
Pedro Meletiche
Jason Calo
Jordan Bancroft
Alexi Maldonado
Nathaniel Schultz
Cody Childers


Joshua Twigg
Christopher Rodgers
Cody Roberts
Joseph Bovia
Vincent Adkinson III
Raymond Alcaraz
George Matthew
James Page
Dale Goetz
Jesse Infante
Kevin Kessler
Matthew West
Chad Clements
Mark Noziska
Casey Grochowiak
Floyd Holley
Ellery Wallace
Bryn Raver
James Ide
Andrew Castro
Patrick Durham
James Robinson
Daniel Fedder
Chad Coleman
Adam Novak
James Swink


Philip Jenkins
James McClamrock
Todd Weaver
John Bishop
Philip Charte
Jason McMahon
Andrew Griffiths
Joseph McFarlane Pool
Jesse Balthaser
Ross Carver
Diego Montoya


John Burner III
James Hansen
Deangelo Snow
Aaron Kramer
Daniel Sanchez


Anthony Rosa
Michael Buras
Jonah McClellan
Robert Baldwin
Marvin Calhoun
Joshua Powell
Matthew Wagstaff
Dennis Miranda
Adam Smith
David McLendon
Joshua Ose
Andrew Jones
Andrew Howarth
Barbara Vieyra
Eric Yates
Joshua Harton
Paul Carron
Ronald Frider
Jaime Newman
Timothy Johnson
Brendan Looney, University of Virginia class of 2004


Marc Whisenant
John Carillo Jr.
Gebrah Noonan
Timothy Jackson
Justin Officer
Calvin Harrison
Mark Forester
Ralph Fabbri
Donald Morrison
Mark Simpson
Clinton Springer II
William Dawson
Jaysine Petree


Stephen Sockalosky
Scott Lynch
Daniel Johnson
Ryane Clark
Joseph Prentler
Karl Campbell
Cody Board
Lance Vogeler
Anthony Matteoni
Willie Harley Jr.
Luther Rabon Jr.


Alec Catherwood
Carlos Benitez
Rafael Martinez
Tramaine Billingsley
Joseph Lopez
Irvin Ceniceros
Eric Newman
Justin Cain
Phillip Vinnedge
Joseph Rodewald
Victor Dew
Jordan Byrd
Raymon Hohnson
Matthew Powell
Frank Zaehringer III
Dave Weigle
David Hess
John Sparks
Edwin Gonzalez


Dylan Reid
Kenneth McAninich
Gerald Jenkins
Francisco Jackson
Joshua Cullins
Jorge Villarreal Jr.
Ian Tawney
James Boelk


David Jones
Terry Honeycutt Jr.
Michael Krispel Jr.
Phillip Tanner
Charles Sadell
Steven Dupont
Thomas Moffett
Ronnie Pallares
Arcely Gonzales O'Malley


James Young
Todd Harris
James Zimmerman
Andrew Meari
Jonathan Curtis
William Blanchard
Brett Land
Diego Solorzanovaldovinos
Pedro Maldonado
Adam Dickmyer


James Stack
Dakota Huse
Robert Kelly
Anthony Vargas
Andrew Hutchins
Scott Hughes
Aaron Cruttenden
Dale Kridlo
Randy Braggs
Shane Reifert
Michael Paranzino
Blake Whipple
Jordan Emrick
Jason McCluskey
Brandon Pearson
Matthew Broehm


Kyle Holder
Justin Culbreth
Javier Ortiz Rivera
Kevin Pape
David Senft
Shane Ahmed
Nathan Lillard
Scott Nagorski
Christian Warriner
Jesse Snow
Jacob Carroll
Jacob Carver
Juan Rivadeneira
Shannon Chihuahua
Shawn Fannin
Andrew Bubacz
David Lutes
Edward Bolen


Matthew Abbate
Chad Wade
Scotty Milley
Barry Jarvis
Curtis Oakes
Matthew Ramsey
Jacob Gassen
Austin Staggs
Buddy McLain
Devon Harris


David Finch
David Luff Jr.
Kelly Mixon
James Ayube II
Michael Geary
Jason Peto
Colton Rusk
Derek Wyatt
Nicholas Aleman
Jason Reeves
Vincent Ashlock
Lucas Scott
James Thode


Sean Cutsforth
Justin Schmalstieg
Jose Hernandez
Sean Collins
Willie McLawhorn Jr.
Patrick Deans
Kenneth Necochoa Jr.
Derek Simonetta
Jorge Villacis
Ethan Goncalo
Stacy Green


William Crouse IV
Conrado Javier Jr
Eric Torbert Jr.
Jose Maldonado
Sean Osterman



Tevan Nguyen
Kenneth Corzine


Jose Cintron Rosado
Jose Delgado Arroyo
Eric Nettleton
Jacob Tate
Maung Htaik
Michael Beckerman


Zachary Salmon
Zainah Creamer
Jarrid King
Benjamin Moore
Robert Near
Ira Laningham
Ethan Hardin
Joseph Giese
Christian Romig
Robert Pharris


Michael Evarts
Jose Torre Jr.
Michael Bartley
Martin Lamar
Jason Amores
Amy Sinkler
Dominique Cruz
Joshua Lancaster
Joseph Whitehead
Zachary Salmon
Evan Mooldyk


Leslie Williams
Jason Amores
Marcin Pastusiak
Marcin Knap


Nathan Carse
Aaron Swanson
Patrick Carroll
Lucas Pyeatt


Corey Owens
Lashwan Evans
Dea Hutchinson
Robert Wood


Christoffer Johnson
Johnathan Taylor
Robert Sisson Jr.
Darren Hidalgo
Andrew Carpenter
Matthew Deyoung
Jonathan Pilgeram
Bradley Hart


Jason Weaver
Nicholas Alden
David Fahey Jr.
Chauncy Mays
Rudolph Hizon
Christopher Stark
Kristopher Gould
Andrew Wilfhart
Jerome Firtamag


Loren Buffalo
Andrew Wade
Kalin Johnson
Mark Wells
Jordan Stanton


Michael Hinkle II
Christopher Meis
Travis Tompkins
Arturo Rodriguez
Daehan Park
Ian Mukker
Andrew Harper
Eric Trueblood
Stephen McKee


Brandon Hocking
Vincent Filpi III
Michael Mahr
Joshua Gire
James Malachowski
Mecolus McDaniel
Donald Mickler Jr.
Rudy Acosta
Jamal Bowers


Dennis Poulin
Ofren Arrechaga
Frank Adamski III
Jameson Lindskog
Jeremy Faulkner
Dustin Feldhaus
Bryan Burgess
Yannick Scherrer
Justin Ross
Mark Burgan
Matthew Collins


Gary Nelson III
Wesley Hinkley
Jorge Scatliffe
Quadi Hudgins
Christian Garcia
Jason Rogers
Benjamin Rast
Jeremy Smoth
Scott Burgess
Michael Lammerts
Bartosz Spychala
Harry Lew
Robert Welch III
Siki Skare
Alan Cameron


Vorasack Xaysana
Donald Nichols
Brent Maher
Brandon Pickering
Jose Caraballo
Keith Buzinski


Grace from Australia said...

They volunteer to go. They know what's on offer and what might be in store for them. It's a job. Granted, more of an element of danger to this job than others but this is also part of the attraction for the professional soldier.
While the long list of names may seem a tragedy, bear in mind that many more die to suicide each year and yet no one reads out their names. The real tragedy here is that those who were there in your list were in a war zone in the first place.

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Dear Grace,
Thanks for your comment. I think, though, you may be missing the point. This is not about body counts but about remembering those who we send to fight our wars. They go, right or wrong, and die. It is not the same as being a truck driver, which is a "job" with inherent danger. Perhaps by saying the names of those who die in our wars, and being aware that God hears us say the names, we might give deeper consideration about when and why we send soldiers off to war zones.