Thursday, January 13, 2011

Afghanistan Diary: The Landscape of the Dead

Nicholas A. Robertson:  KIA 2 April 2008.  Brave Patriot.  Remembered in a Gym.

Whenever one walks on a Coalition military base in Afghanistan one is immersed in a military landscape.  However, the landscape is not solely controlled by tanks, horahs, and rolling out on missions.  There is another landscape that does not distract yet strangely complements the militaristic mindset of the warrior's universe in its own unique, somewhat covert way.  It is a landscape of the fallen.

Many camps and places on bases are named after people.  Camp Williams, Arnstead Hall, Cooper DFAC, etc.  People will say things like "I am going to eat at Cooper" or "I live over at Williams."  All these places are named after the fallen.  It may take one a day or so to realize it, but all these named places have a plaque, mural, or photo dedicated to the person who's name graces building along with the date of the fallen's death.

When one talks about these places one does not always think of the fallen who's life was taken in the heat of battle, by the Taliban behind the door, or the IED along the road.  However, even if for a brief moment, whenever one walks by the memorial one is reminded of the fallen, the fallen's sacrifice, and that one's own mortality is in play.  Life does go on but the reminders of death await those who pass by.  Much like it is outside in the wire in Afghanistan.


Ryan said...

Thinking about you over there...Thanks for the posts.

Dan tdaxp said...

Very interesting post -- and interesting method of 'localization' (as opposed to delocalization). So much of the meaning of a place is our present experience of the living, and the past experience of the fallen.

uh-huh said...

what a sanctimonious blowhard. The fallen. Yeah, right. More like cannon fodder for imperialism.

Catholicgauze said...

uh huh,
Bless you. May you never fully understand what al Qaeda, IMU, TMJ, HQN, and the Taliban wish to do with people like you and I. Don't worry, my friends and I will keep you safe (even if some of us fall).