A year ago today:

12:40:41 AM Andy: I’ve got to go.
12:40:43 AM Andy: *sighs*
12:40:45 AM Hilary: kk
12:40:54 AM Hilary: Bye. Have a great day.
12:41:01 AM Andy: Thanks. Sleep well.

It was, of course, morning in Iraq, and Andy Olmsted was heading out on a mission. Some hours later, he was killed. I had no words then, and I have no words now.

But I’m more grateful than I can say that Andy asked that his death not be politicized. Without the thought that he would have hated it so much, I’m sure I would have lost it entirely sometime during the last year, when someone talked about war a little too blithely. He kept me from that. I just wish I could, in some way, have returned the favor.

I’m also enormously grateful to the community at Obsidian Wings, who were truly wonderful during the days and weeks after Andy died. I think he would have been so proud, at least after he got over his embarrassment at the response to his last post. (It would have meant the world to him, though.)

The thought that every one of the 4221 Americans, 317 other coalition troops, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis has friends and families who feel the same hole in their world is unimaginably awful. My heart goes out to them all, but especially, on this day, to Andy’s wife, his family and friends, and to those of Thomas Casey, who was killed with him.


Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.