With the exception of the gas pump, we like nice round numbers and create events around them. When the odometer hits 100,000, it’s a big moment for that 100,000th mile, much to the dismay of number 99,999, perhaps.
When the media needs to gin up a story, we’ll focus on a politician’s first 100 days in office.
And then we have Americans killed in the war in Iraq. Today, numbers 3,997, 3,998, 3,999 and 4,000 are in the news, but only because we don’t know which one was actually #4,000 and when we hit these even numbers, the media does a story about how there’s still a war going on and people are still dying in it, just like they were yesterday and the day before.
Navy Lt. Patrick Evans, a military spokesman, expressed condolences to all the families of soldiers killed in Iraq, saying each death is “equally tragic.”
Last week, ostensibly to mark the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq, a ceremony was held at the Minnesota Capitol to read the names of those who have died. The next day, Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman gave the Capitol folks the “what for” for not stopping to honor those who have been killed:
I would like to tell you the Capitol of Minnesota came to a hushed halt Wednesday to observe the anniversary of a misbegotten war that has cost far too many lives to ever be worth it, but the country is not in the mood for special observances.
Here’s why. These ceremonies aren’t just “special observances,” they’re anti-war protests. The Capitol event was organized by the Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace, an anti-war group, which — just so we’re clear — has every right to an opinion opposed to the war. Some people agree with it. Others do not.
This afternoon, Women Against Military Madness, is hosting a protest/vigil at Sen. Norm Coleman’s office to mark the occasion of the killing of #4,000.
But for those who would rather observe the passing of a life, and maybe even express appreciation for the sacrifice without making a political statement or engaging in a political rally, you’re on your own today.