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January 04, 2013

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5 years. Damn. That's both pre-kids for me and 2 jobs ago.

Hmmmm, I remember finding out about his death at work and having to go home because I couldn't stop tearing up. I don't think the death of a person I've never personally met has ever hit me so hard.

He was a good man.

I was at Camp Funston, Fort Riley KS at the same time as Andrew(though he graduated a few weeks before me), and was in Iraq when he was killed. It was bizarre to have such feelings for someone I only knew on-line. I only knew him as his psuedonym, but after I saw his photo, I was sure that I saw him at Funston (which is not surprising since it was pretty small and we were both majors). I just reread a couple of his posts about the training at Funston and it brought back a lot of memories.

One of my close friends was killed just a couple months after Andrew in Baghdad and was just honored at a division event in December.

It is hard to beleive it has been 5 years. Like Ugh, there has been a lot of living for me since then, and the guilt of their families loss feels heavy.

I don't remember how I found out. I do remember finding it hard to talk about his death to anyone because I didn't know how to define the relationship. He wasn't a friend. He wsn't a relation. He wasn't even an acquaintance, as that word is normally used. How do you tell people that you are bummed out about the death of someone you know through blog posts?

Andy was one of a handful of vets that I'd spoken or corresponded with while doing research for my dissertation and his death is always on my mind when I write about military shooter games. I think these games have it within their scope to find the right balance of personal perspective and constraint of agency that would allow them to say something profound about what it means to be a citizen soldier, at once a private individual and part of a collective. I have yet, however, to find a game that achieves the right balance to become a fitting legacy for the experiences that these vets have tried to share with their civilian friends and families. They are always either too reverent or too impersonal.

I really wish I had been able to talk to Andy about some of my later research. I'm sure he would have had important insights to offer, as always.

I never met him in person, but I still miss him and his input.

in one of my last exchanges with andy before he was killed, i told him he needed to "think harder" about something or other that was being discussed.

i wish i could take that comment back. he thought more than hard enough, and more than honestly enough, about anything any of us ever discussed here.

andy died seeking a peaceable end to a not at all peaceable situation. and as best as i can understand, he died doing what he thought was most important for him to be doing, and what he wanted to be doing.

if i leave behind a legacy remotely that righteous, i will be well pleased.

the respect and regard in which andy was and is held and remembered here at ObWi is, i think and hope, in some small way a public memorial to him. to the degree that that is so, i sincerely hope that it does, in some small way, ease the grief of his family and loved ones.

i share laura's befuddlement at how to characterize relationships that exist, primarily or completely, of exchanges over the internet. it hasn't been around that long yet, it's hard to know exactly what to call it.

that said, i also find it not at all strange for any or all of us to find ourselves connected, even after all of this time, to andy through bonds of respect, friendship, affection, or even love.

may you rest in peace G'Kar, we remember you and miss you.

I remember Andrew and Hiltzoy representing and arguing for sanity in the midst of war. I miss the voices but still visit.

I miss him too, having read him here and in the Denver paper. I'm glad he made a mark in the wider world, as well as our section of blogdom.

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