Newspapers and magazines are full of lists of the year's departed celebrities, their obituaries packed with details about their on-screen appearances, love affairs and marriages, cover photos and awards.
This is not that list.
"We Remember Them" is a compilation of 2008's "I Got the News Today" diaries, tributes to American service members who died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you click on the links, you'll find their stories--the details that their teachers and friends remember, the last phone calls home to parents, their MySpace messages to loved ones. These are not numbers or abstractions. They were here. Their lives mattered.
If you are new to the series, please click on a date and read about a few of these lives. If you have been with us this year, please know how much your presence, witnessing and condolences mean. To the team--a special thank you for your constant and compassionate efforts.
As we did last year, we have chosen "We Remember Them," by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer, to help us reflect on these losses. Thank you for being here tonight to remember.
Please also visit Part 2 of this diary.
This list also includes service members from the war in Vietnam whose remains were identified and returned home in 2008.
|At the rising of the sun and at its going down|
We remember them.
2 Petty Officer 1st Class Victor W. Jeffries, 52, of Honolulu, Hawaii
4 Sgt. Reno S. Lacerna, 44, of Waipahu, Hawaii; Pfc. Brian L. Gorham, 21, of Woodburn, Ky.; Pfc. Joseph R. Berlin Jr. of Chelsea, Ala.
5 Sgt. Shawn F. Hill, 37, of Wellford, South Carolina
6 Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Pfc. Joshua R. Anderson, 24, of Jordan, Minn.; Cpt. Thomas J. Casey, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Maj. Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
9 Pfc. Jason F. Lemke, 30, of West Allis, Wis.; Petty Officer Second Class Menelek M. Brown, 24, of Roswell, N.M.
10 Pfc. Timothy R. Hanson, 23, of Kenosha, Wis.; Spc. James D. Gudridge, 20, of Carthage, N.Y.
11 Army Major Michael L. Green, 36, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Sgt. James K. Healy, 25, of Hesperia, California.
12 Pfc. Ivan E. Merlo, 19, of San Marcos, California; Pfc. Phillip J. Pannier, 20, of Washburn, Illinois; Sgt. David J. Hart, 22, of Lake View Terrace, California; Sgt. David J. Drakulich, 22, of Reno, Nevada
13 Spc. Todd E. Davis, 22, of Raymore, Mo.; Staff Sgt. Jonathan K. Dozier, 30, of Rutherford, Tenn.; Staff Sgt. Sean M. Gaul, 29, of Reno, Nev.; Sgt. Zachary W. McBride, 20, of Bend, Ore.; Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Pionk, 30, of Superior, Wis.; and Sgt. Christopher A. Sanders, 22, of Roswell, N.M.
Guardsman, soldier, sailor, medic, friend. "(Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini) was a good man. He stressed the importance of education, the importance of community service and the importance of military service."
15 Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, 52, Eldred, Pa.
17 Pfc. Keith E. Lloyd, 26, of Milwaukee, Wisc.; Lance Cpl. Curtis A. Christensen Jr., 29, of Collingswood, N.J.
19 Pfc. David H. Sharrett II, 27, of Oakton, Virginia; Pfc. Danny L. Kimme, 27, of Fisher, Illinois; Spc. John P. Sigsbee, 21, of Waterville, New York
24 Staff Sgt. Justin R. Whiting, 27, of Hancock, N.Y.; Spc. Richard B. Burress, 25, of Naples, Fla ; Spc. Jon M. Schoolcraft, III, 26, of Wapakoneta, Ohio
25 Lance Cpl. James M. Gluff of Tunnel Hill, Georgia; Sgt. Michael R. Sturdivant of Conway, Arkansas
28 Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, 24, of Iowa City, Iowa
29 Sgt. Tracy Renee Birkman, 41, of New Castle, Va.; Pfc. Duncan Charles Crookston, 19, of Denver, Colo.; Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Ryan Kahler, 29, of Granite Falls, Minn.
30 Staff Sgt. Robert J. Wilson, 28, of Boynton Beach, Fla.
31 Sgt. Mikeal W. Miller, 22, of Albany, Ore.
|At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter|
We remember them.
2 Sgt. James E. Craig, 26, of Hollywood, S.C.; Staff Sgt. Gary W. Jeffries, 37, of Roscoe, Texas; Spc. Evan A. Marshall, 21, of Athens, Ga.; Pfc. Brandon A. Meyer, 20, of Orange, Calif.; Pvt. Joshua A. R. Young, 21, of Riddle, Ore.
4 Capt. Michael A. Norman, 36, of Killeen, Texas; Capt. David E. Schultz, 25, of Illinois
7 Spc. Christopher J. West, 26, of Arlington, Texas; Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Koch, 29, of State College, Pa.; and Chief Petty Officer Nathan H. Hardy, 29, of Durham, N.H.
8 Staff Sgt. Rafael Alicea Rivera, 30, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Staff Sgt. Donald T. Tabb, 29, of Norcross, Ga.
9 Spc. Miguel A. Baez, III, 32, of Bonaire, Ga.; Sgt. John C. Osmolski, 23, of Eustis, Fla.; Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman, 24, of Port Matilda, Pa.; Sgt. Bradley J. Skelton, 40, of Gordonville, Mo.
10 Sgt. Matthew F. Straughter, 27, of St. Charles, Mo.; Staff Sgt. Chad A. Barrett, 35, of Saltville, Va.
11 Petty Officer 1st class Luis A. Souffront, 25,of Miami, Fla.
15 Spc. Michael T. Manibog, 31, of Alameda, Calif.; Sgt. Timothy P. Martin, 27, of Pixley, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Jerald A. Whisenhunt, 32, of Orrick, Mo.; Sgt. Gary D. Willett, 34, of Alamogordo, N.M.; and Pfc. Jack T. Sweet, 19, of Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
16 Sgt. Corey E. Spates, 21, of LaGrange, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Javares J. Washington, 27, of Pensacola, Fla.
21 Spc. Chad D. Groepper, 21, of Kingsley, Iowa; Spc. Luke S. Runyan, 21, of Spring Grove, Pa.
24 Sgt. Conrad Alvarez, 22, of Big Spring, Texas; Cpl. Albert Bitton, 20, of Chicago; Spc. Micheal B. Matlock, Jr., 21, of Glen Burnie, Md.; Staff Sgt. Bryant W. Mackey, 30, of Eureka, Kan.; Capt. Nathan R. Raudenbush, 25, of Pennsylvania.
27 Lance Corporal Drew W. Weaver, 20, of St. Charles, Mo.; Spc. Keisha M. Morgan, 25, of Washington, D.C.
28 Cpl. Kevin S. Mowl, 22, of Pittsford, N.Y.; Spc. Micheal E. Phillips, 19, of Ardmore, Okla.
29 Spc. Orlando A. Perez, 23, of Houston, Texas.
|At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring|
We remember them.
9 Spc. Steven R. Koch, 23, of Milltown, N.J.; Sgt. Robert T. Rapp, 22, of Sonora, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Frost, 24, of Waukesha, Wisc.
14 Sgt. Gabriel Guzman, 25, of Hornbrook, Calif.
15 Sgt. Phillip R. Anderson, 28, of Everett, Wash.; Spc. Donald A. Burkett, 24, of Comanche, Texas; Capt. Torre R. Mallard, 27, of Oklahoma and Alabama; Cpl. Jose A. Paniagua-Morales, 22, of Bell Gardens, Calif.
16 Staff Sgt. Laurent J. West, 32, of Raleigh, N.C.; Staff Sgt. Juantrea T. Bradley, 28, of Greenville, N.C.; Spc. Dustin C. Jackson, 21, of Arlington, Texas; Pfc. Tenzin L. Samten, 33, of Prescott, Ariz.
17, first diary Sgt. 1st Class Collin J. Bowen, 38, of Millersville, Md.
17, second diary Sgt. 1st. Class Shawn M. Suzch, 32, of Hilltown, Penn.; Staff Sgt. Ernesto G. Cimarrusti, 25, of Douglas, Ariz.; Staff Sgt. David D. Julian, 31, of Evanston, Wyo.; Cpl. Robert T. McDavid, 29, of Starkville, Miss.; Cpl. Scott A. McIntosh, 26, of Houston, Texas.
19 Cpl. William D. O’Brien, 19, of Rice, Texas
21 Staff Sgt. Michael D. Elledge, 41, Placerville, Calif.; Spc. Christopher Simpson, 23, Hampton, Va.; Sgt. Lerando Brown, 27, Gulfport, Miss.
24 Sgt. Gregory D. Unruh, 28, of Dickinson, Texas
25 Tech. Sgt. William H. Jefferson, Jr., 34, Norfolk, Va,
26 Pvt. Tyler J. Smith, 22, of Bethel, Maine; Sgt. Thomas C. Ray, II, 40, of Weaverville, N.C.; Spc. David S. Stelmat, 27, of Littleton, N.H.; Sgt. David B. Williams, 26, of Tarboro, N.C.
27 Staff Sgt. William R. Neil Jr., 38, of Holmdel, N.J.; Pfc. Antione V. Robinson, 20, of Detroit, Mich.
28 Pvt. George Delgado, 21, of Palmdale, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Hake, 26, of Enid, Okla.; Pfc. Andrew J. Habsieger, 22, of Festus, Mo.; Spc. Jose A. Rubio Hernandez, 24, of Mission, Texas
30 Staff Sgt. Joseph D. Gamboa, 34, of Yigo, Guam; Spc. Gregory B. Rundell, 21, of Ramsey, Minn.; Pfc. Keith M. Maupin, 20, of Batavia, Ohio
31 Cpl. Joshua A. Molina, 20, of Houston, Texas
|At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer|
We remember them.
2 Staff Sgt. Keith M. Maupin, 24, of Batavia, Ohio
3 Cpl. Steven I. Candelo, 20, of Houston; Sgt. Terrell W. Gilmore, 38, of Baton Rouge, La.; Cpl. Durrell L. Bennett, 22, of Spanaway, Wash.; Pfc. Patrick J. Miller, 23, of New Port Richey, Fla.
4 Maj. William G. Hall, 38 of Seattle; Sgt. Jevon K. Jordan, 32, of Norfolk, Va.
6 Sgt. Dayne D. Dhannoolal, 26, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin, 28, Dover, Del.; Spc. Charles A. Jankowski, 24, Panama City, Fla.
7 Sgt. Nicholas A. Robertson, 27, of Old Town, Maine
9 Capt. Ulises Burgos-Cruz, 29, of Puerto Rico; Spc. Matthew T. Morris, 23, of Cedar Park, Texas; Pfc. Shane D. Penley, 19, of Sauk Village, Illinois
10 Staff Sgt. Emanuel Pickett, 34, of Teachey, N.C.; Col. Stephen K. Scott, 54, of New Market, Ala.; Maj. Stuart A. Wolfer, 36, of Coral Springs, Fla.; Sgt. Richard A. Vaughn, 22, of San Diego, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah E. McNeal, 23, of Norfolk, Va.
12 Staff Sgt. Jeffery L. Hartley, 25, of Hempstead, Texas; Spc. Jeremiah C. "Jere" Hughes, 26, of Jacksonville, Fla.; Tech. Sgt Anthony Lewis Capra, 31, of Hanford, Calif. and Indian Head, Md.; Sgt. Shaun P. Tousha, 30, of Hull, Texas
Staff Sgt. Jesse A. Ault's wife said that he "loved our family so much and saw how important it was for me to stay with my sons. He joined the National Guard again to take my place on the deployment."
13 Sgt. Jesse A. Ault, 28, of Dublin, Va.; Spc. Jacob J. Fairbanks, 22, of Saint Paul, Minn.
14 Maj. Mark E. Rosenberg, 32, of Miami Lakes, Fla.; Spc. Jason C. Kazarick, 30, of Oakmont, Pa.; Sgt. Michael T. Lilly, 23, of Boise, Idaho; Sgt. Timothy M. Smith, 25, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
16 Spc. William E. Allmon, 25, of Ardmore, Okla.
17 Sgt. Joseph A. Richard III, 27, of Lafayette, La.; Spc. Arturo Huerta-Cruz, 23, of Clearwater, Fla.
21 1st Sgt. Luke J. Mercardante, 35, of Athens, Ga.; Cpl. Kyle W. Wilks, 24, of Rogers, Ark.; Staff Sgt. Jason L. Brown, 29, of Magnolia, Texas
23 Spc. Lance O. Eakes, 25, of Apex, N.C.; Spc. Benjamin K. Brosh, 22, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
24 Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie L. Morton, 40, of Bakersfield, Calif.; Airman Apprentice Adrian M. Campos, 22, of El Paso, Texas
25 Spc. Steven J. Christofferson, 20, of Cudahy, Wis., Sgt. Adam J. Kohlhaas, 26, of Perryville, Mo.; Pvt. Ronald R. Harrison, 25, of Morris Plains, N.J.
27 Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter, 19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y.; Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale, 21, of Burkeville, Va.; Pfc. John T. Bishop, 22, of Gaylord, Mich.; 1st Lt. Timothy W. Cunningham, 26, of College Station, Texas
28 Staff Sgt. Ronald C. Blystone, 34, of Springfield, Mo.; Sgt. Guadalupe Cervantes Ramirez, 26, of Fort Irwin, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Shaun J. Whitehead, 24, of Commerce, Ga.
|At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn|
We remember them.
1 Spc. David P. McCormick, 26, of Fresno, Texas
2, first diary Spc. William T. Dix, 32, of Culver City, Calif.
2, second diary Pfc. Adam L. Marion, 26, of Mount Airy, N.C.; Sgt. Marcus C. Mathes, 26, of Zephyrhills, Fla.; Sgt. Mark A. Stone, 22, of Buchanan Dam, Texas; Sgt. 1st Class David L. McDowell, 30, of Ramona, Calif.; Senior Airman Jonathan A. V. Yelner, 24, of Lafayette, Calif.
Sgt. Merlin German, the "Miracle Man," was not expected to live, let alone walk, after suffering burns on 97 percent of his body. He lived through dozens of surgeries -- and long enough to dance with his mother at a holiday party. He died of complications arising from a reconstructive procedure.
3 Sgt. Merlin German, 22 of Manhattan, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Clay A. Craig, 22, of Mesquite, Texas; and Staff Sgt. Bryan E. Bolander, 26, of Bakersfield, Calif.
4 Cpt. Andrew. R. Pearson, 32, of Billings, Mont.; Spc. Ronald J. Tucker, 21, of Fountain, Colo.
5 Staff Sgt. Chad A. Caldwell, 24, of Spokane, Wash.; Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence D. Ezell, 30, of Portland, Texas
6 Spc. Jeffrey F. Nichols, 21, of Granite Shoals, Texas
7 1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandergrift, 28 of Littleton, Colo.
8 Pvt. Corey L. Hicks, 22, of Glendale, Ariz.
10 Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova, 22, of McComb, Miss.; Cpl. Miguel A. Guzman, 21, of Norwalk, Calif.; Lance Cpl. James F. Kimple, 21, of Carroll, Ohio; Sgt. Glen E. Martinez, 31, of Boulder, Colo.; Spc. Jeremy R. Gullett, 22, of Greenup, Ky.; Staff Sgt. Kevin C. Roberts, 25, of Farmington, N. M.
11 Pfc. Aaron J. Ward, 19, of San Jacinto, Calif.; Spc. Alex D. Gonzalez, 21, of Mission, Texas
12 Sgt. Isaac Palomarez, 26, of Loveland, Colo.; Spc. Mary J. Jaenichen, 20, of Temecula, Calif.
13 Pfc. Ara T. Deysie, 18, of Parker, Ariz.
15 Spc. Joseph A. Ford, 23, of Knox, Ind.
16 Staff Sgt. Victor M. Cota, 33, of Tucson, Ariz.
18 Sgt. John K. Daggett, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz.;
21 Cpl. Jessica A. Ellis, 24, of Bend, Ore.
22 Master Sgt. Davy N. Weaver, 39, of Barnesville, Ga.; Pvt. Branden P. Haunert, 21, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Cpl. William J. L. Cooper, 22, of Eupora, Miss.
24 1st Lt. Jeffrey F. DePrimo, 35, of Pittston, Pa.
25 Lt. Col. Joseph A. Moore, 54, of Boise, Idaho, Lt. Jeffrey A. Ammon, 37, of Orem, Utah and Pfc. Howard A. Jones, Jr., 35, of Chicago, Ill.
|At the beginning of the year and when it ends|
We remember them.
2 Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez, 27, of Los Angeles, Calif.
4 Cpl. Christian S. Cotner, 20, of Waterbury, Conn.; Spc. James M. Finley, 21, of Lebanon, Mo.; Pvt. Andrew J. Shields, 19, of Battleground, Wash.; Spc. Justin R. Mixon, 22, of Bogalusa, La.
5 Spc. Christopher D. McCarthy, 28, of Virginia Beach, Va.
6 Spc. Quincy J. Green, 26, of El Paso, Tex.; Pfc. Milton Dinerboiler Jr., of Elkhart, Ind.
7 Maj. Scott A. Hagerty, 41, of Stillwater, Okla.; Pfc. Derek D. Holland, 20, of Wind Gap, Pa.; Pfc. Joshua E. Waltenbaugh, 19, of Ford City, Pa.
8 Sgt. Shane P. Duffy, 22, of Taunton, Mass.; Spc. Jonathan D. A. Emard, 20, of Mesquite, Tex.; Sgt. Cody R. Legg, 23, of Escondido, Calif.; Chief Warrant Officer James Carter, 42, of Ala.; Pfc. Andre D. McNair, Jr., 20, of Fort Pierce, Fla.
11, first diary Maj. Lance Waldorf, 40, Bingham Farms, Mich.
11, second diary Sgt. 1st Class David R. Hurst, 31, of Fort Sill, Okla.; Sgt. 1st Class W. T. Akins, of Decatur, Ga.
15 Sgt. Steve McCoy, 23, of Moultrie, Ga.; Sgt. John Aragon, 22, of Antioch, Calif.
18 Lance Cpl. Kelly E. C. Watters, 19, of Virginia Beach, Va.; Lance Cpl. Javier Perales Jr., 19, of San Elizario, Tex.
19 Pvt. Eugene D. M. Kanakaole, 19, of Maui, Hawaii; Sgt. 1st Class Gerard M. Reed, 40, of Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
20 Sgt. Michael Toussiant-Hyle Washington, 20, of Tacoma, Wash.; Lance Cpl. Layton Bradly Crass, 22, of Richmond, Ind.; Pfc. Dawid Pietrek, 24, of Bensenville, Ill.; Pfc. Michael Robert Patton, 19, of Fenton, Mo.
22 Navy Hospitalman Marc A. Retmier, 19, of Hemet, Calif.; Petty Officer 1st Class Ross L. Toles III, 37, of Davison, Mich.
23 Spc. Thomas F. Duncan III, 21, of Rowlett, Tex.; Staff Sgt. Tyler E. Pickett, 28, of Saratoga, Wyo.; Capt. Eric Daniel Terhune, 34, of Lexington, Ky.; Lance Cpl. Andrew Francis Whitacre, 21, of Bryant, Ind.; Spc. Jason N. Cox, 21, of Elyria, Ohio; Lt. Cmdr. Ralph C. Bisz, of Miami Shores, Fla.
24 Navy Hospitalman Dustin Kelby Burnett, 19, of Fort Mojave, Ariz.
25 Sgt. Matthew E. Mendoza, 24, of San Antonio, Tex.; Staff Sgt. Du Hai Tran, 30, of Reseda, Calif.
26 Lt. Col. James J. Walton, 41, of Rockville, Md.; Spc. Anthony L. Mangano, 36, of Greenlawn, N.Y.; Sgt. Nelson D. Rodriguez Ramirez, 22, of Revere, Mass.; Sgt. Andrew Seabrooks, 36, of Queens, N.Y.
Sgt. Andrew Seabrooks promised his dying mother he would always keep her home and protect and care for his sister, who has Down syndrome. He had already served a tour of duty in Iraq when he volunteered to go to Afghanistan to stave off foreclosure of the family home. His last words to his family were "I’m coming home. Don’t give up the house."
27 Cpt. Gregory T. Dalessio, 30, of Cherry Hill, N.J.; Spc. Ryan J. Connolly, 24, of Vacaville, Calif.
28 Sgt. Gene F. Clark of Muncie, Ind.; Sgt. Edward J. O’Brien, of Omaha, Nebr.
29, first diary Sgt. Alejandro A. Dominguez, 24, of San Diego, Calif.; Spc. Joel A. Taylor, 20, of Pinetown, N.C.; Pfc. James M. Yohn, 25, of Highspire, Pa.; Bryan M. Thomas, 22, of Lake Charles, La.; Spc. Joshua L. Plocica, 20, of Clarksville, Tenn.
29, second diary Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Strickland, 25, of Labelle, Fla.; Chief Warrant Officer Robert C. Hammett, 39, of Tucson, Ariz.; Maj. Dwayne M. Kelley, 48, of Willingboro, N.J., who was assigned to the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, Green Bay, Wisc.; Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai, 42, of Pago Pago, American Samoa; Capt. Philip J. Dykeman, 38, of Brockport, N.Y.; Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme, 23, of North Miami Beach, Fla.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.