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I Got The News Today (IGTNT), the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos, provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The IGTNT title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

This week, two soldiers from Fort Drum, Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II and Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, died in separate incidents while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II
Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, of Accord, New York, died April 28, in Nejrab District, Kapisa province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, New York. (DoD)
Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II
Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II
Courtesy of Fort Drum
Farrell joined the Army in September 2006. After training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas. He arrived at Fort Drum in May 2010 and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2011 to March 2012. Farrell deployed with his unit in November 2013 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Farrell's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, the Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, and the Air Assault Badge. He completed the Warrior Leader Course, the Combat Life Savers Course and the Air Assault Course. (Fort Drum)

Farrell’s mother, Heather Stokes, said that he had wanted to serve in the Army since he was a child.  “I have pictures of him as a little kid dressed up in camouflage,” she said.  “In his senior year, he served with the Army National Guard reserve unit in Bullville, and after he graduated, he went in to active duty in Fort Riley, Kansas.”  His father, Shawn Farrell, said of his son, “He loved life. He loved his family. He loved to fish.  Up until the day he went in, he had hair down in the middle of his back. He donated it to Locks of Love.  He always helped other people.  Shawnie was the happiest-go-lucky person in the world.”

Farrell and his wife, Allison, married in January, 2013.  In addition to his parents and wife, he is survived by his stepfather, two sisters, and three brothers.  

1914 IV: The Dead
~ Rupert Brooke ~

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

Pfc. Christian J. Chandler
Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, of Trenton, Texas, died April 28 in Baraki Barak District, Logar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, New York. (DoD)
Pfc. Christian J. Chandler
Pfc. Christian J. Chandler
Courtesy Fort Drum
Chandler joined the Army in October 2012. After training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he arrived at Fort Drum in February 2013 and deployed with his unit in October 2013 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Chandler's awards and decorations include Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He completed the Combat Life Savers Course. (Fort Drum)

At a candlelight memorial ceremony held last night in Whitewright, Texas, where Chandler graduated from high school two years ago, family and friends recalled the fun-loving and laugh-filled young man known as “Jake.”   Through tears, his aunt told the people gathered to celebrate his life “I know Jake is smiling down on each and every one of you.”

Chandler is survived by his mother and stepfather.  His stepfather will escort his son home from Dover, Delaware.

Fallen Flowers
~ Steve McDonald ~

There on a misty morning, the sun slowly rised
After the Battle at Halidon Hill
There lies her youngest son, tears in his eyes
Wounded and dying she hears him still

Ma, if I could live my life again
If I could call the world my friend
If I could write the story's end (I would)
I would give all these things in vain
To feel you hold me once again

A smile comes to his face
An uneasy calm
In front of him, his life flashes by
Amidst his boyish charms,
he feels his mother's arms
In that painless moment, he hears her cry

Son, if I could roll back the years
If I could see you through these tears
If I could face all of my fears (I would)
I would give everything in vain
Just to hold you once again

Remember me forever
I'll be here forever
Please forget me never
I'll be here forever

DOD news releases
Fort Drum - 10th Mountain News Releases and Advisories
Daily Freeman News, with video
News 12 KXII, with video
I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind.  Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

The DoD news releases are here, and all of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here.  These men and women all had people who they loved and who loved them.  

Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by i dunno, Monkeybiz, Noweasels, Blue Jersey Mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, The Fat Lady Sings, Ekaterina, Sandy on Signal, and me, Joy of Fishes.

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.

When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today.

~ John Maxwell Edmonds ~

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