The face of war

The Bush administration’s attempt to minimize photographs of the caskets of returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq has often made it difficult to capture the stark reality of war: People die and the hearts of loved ones ache.

No picture better captured this than the photograph MPR’s Bob Kelleher took at the memorial service for Matt Lourey, a pilot who died in Iraq when his helicopter crashed near Baghdad in 2005.

Gene and Becky Lourey, a former state senator and candidate for governor, raised a dozen children in Finlayson, Minn. Gene Lourey died in his sleep over the weekend, according to John Blackshaw, the general counsel for Nemadji Research Corporation, the software and system analysis firm the Loureys own in Bruno, Minn.

He and his wife worked on the Humphrey presidential campaign in Minnesota, after they moved back to the state from Washington. Gene Lourey was a codebreaker for the National Security Agency, and then worked at the University of Minnesota.

  • Bob Moffitt

    My sympathies to the Lourey family. What a moving photograph.

    I’m reminded of my recently departed uncle, whose son died in Vietnam in 1969.

    His face carried the sadness of his loss until his own death, many years later. A former chief petty officer, his creamated remains will be buried at sea, just as his son was (a Marine PFC) so many years ago.

  • betty tisel

    bob thanks for the moving photo.

    we have seen so very few photos like this.

  • Charlene K. Quade, Boise, Idaho


    Our family is small, and yet I read the blog and realize it is actually quite large…Cousin Dal, my grandmother’s nephew and my father’s cousin, will be remembered by my daughters and me for the depth of his conviction, the breadth of his knowledge, his wisdom, his creative brilliance, his conviction and dedication toward an improved world, and the extraordinary emotional intelligence he embodied. Moreover, I shall always remember his wry smile and twinkling eyes! He and Becky provided more toward the betterment of this world than we will ever know and appreciate during our lifetimes…from Idaho I and my daughters send our love~~~