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January 04, 2008

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Work is...

not the place I want to be right now.

But here I am.

My condolences to Andrew's family and friends. Only knew him online, but he was someone I would be proud to call a friend (though certainly not as close to him as many here are)--even if at times I was remiss in communication (as unfortunately is my wont).

His last post here @ ObWi was to solicit funds on behalf of Pretty Woman Bird House. Though they reached their goal last week, PWBH is still accepting (and in need of) donations. Making one in Andrew's name (as I plan on doing once I get home from work) would be a great honour to his memory, and his legacy.

(Can you tell these peas are fresh?)

a thinker, a blogger, a soldier... a tragedy. Descansa en paz.

Opened the bottle of Nepenthe Pinot Noir I've been saving for some time when I wanted to toast someone.

Raising a glass to someone I never met and will never forget.

Goodbye.

Mattbastard: His last post here @ ObWi was to solicit funds on behalf of Pretty Woman Bird House. Though they reached their goal last week, PWBH is still accepting (and in need of) donations. Making one in Andrew's name (as I plan on doing once I get home from work) would be a great honour to his memory, and his legacy.

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll do that.

I am posting W.H. Auden's poem on the death of William Butler Yeats:

In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden


I


He disappeared in the dead of winter:

The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,

And snow disfigured the public statues;

The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.

What instruments we have agree

The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness

The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,

The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;

By mourning tongues

The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,

An afternoon of nurses and rumours;

The provinces of his body revolted,

The squares of his mind were empty,

Silence invaded the suburbs,

The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities

And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,

To find his happiness in another kind of wood

And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.

The words of a dead man

Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow

When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,

And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,

And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,

A few thousand will think of this day

As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree

The day of his death was a dark cold day.

II


You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:

The parish of rich women, physical decay,

Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.

Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,

For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives

In the valley of its making where executives

Would never want to tamper, flows on south

From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,

Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,

A way of happening, a mouth.

III


Earth, receive an honoured guest:

William Yeats is laid to rest.

Let the Irish vessel lie

Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark

All the dogs of Europe bark,

And the living nations wait,

Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace

Stares from every human face,

And the seas of pity lie

Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right

To the bottom of the night,

With your unconstraining voice

Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse

Make a vineyard of the curse,

Sing of human unsuccess

In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start,

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The soldier stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Author unknown.

At times like this, I touch my Son's Flag and pray that God will give His family peace. And then I remember the last time I hugged my Son, knowing this Family will never get to do that again. Win this WAR!!!
God bless our TROOPS!!!

From "The Jungle Book":

"Howl, dogs. A wolf has died today."

My deepest sympathies to the Major's family and all who knew and honored him.

I just burst into tears. He was a wonderful writer, I really enjoyed, and learned heaps from, his posts and comments. He will be missed.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Um, if asbfld's 7:35 is not deleted posthaste, I'm going to track someone down and quite literally kill them.

The battle against the enemies of human liberty will be carried on. Rest in peace.

I'm sad, I'm mad... But this is not the time.

I'm respectful most of all...

My deepest sympathies to all who loved him, knew him and shared their lives with him.

"Life is unfair." JFK

I recommend deleting asblfd's comment and banning his sorry, pathetic ass. Forever.

(Can you tell these peas are fresh?)

And so hot!

I'd forgotten that one. Andrew had me hunting all over the web for an hour or so for the source before he put us out of our misery and told us the source.

My brother was in the army reserve when the Iraq war started his eight year (or so) commitment expired a month or two before reservists with his status started being called up for Iraq, including IIRC some people in his unit.

So as I sit here this evening, choking back about someone whom I only knew through his blogging, I can't imagine the overwhelming grief I would feel had I learned that my brother had been killed in Iraq, leaving his wife, siblings and parents to grieve.

Amanda, Wesley, Catherine, and Mr. & Mrs. Olmsted, my deepest condolences.

Seriously, what kind of fucking cowardly son of a bitch posts something like that, on a thread devoted to a man's memory, where his FAMILY is reading, and doesn't even have the courage, the decency, or the plain manners to use his or her own name? You coward. Man up and own your opinion so everyone can know what a worthless turd you are.

I was mostly a lurker here. I read his posts and I may even had some occasion to discuss an idea or two with him.

What I will tell his family and friends that may come across this tribute to Andrew is that he connected as a decent human being with a lot of people, sight unseen. He will be well remembered. May he rest in peace.

Heartbreaking.

I have read and enjoyed G'Kar's posts at Obsidian Wings. He was a thoughtful, down-to-earth author whose writings I admired.

My thoughts are with his family. I hope the comments to this post make it to them to provide some solace in knowing they are not quite alone.

Major Olmstead -

To you and your fellow service members who made the ultimate sacrifice defending my freedom and way of life I say:

Hail heroes, rest with God.

You are not forgotten.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

I didn't know Andy personally, but I did feel as though I "knew" him a little through his writing. This one really hurts.
God bless his soul, and God bless his grieving family and all those who love him. You are in my prayers, passionately.

Thank you, Hilzoy, for helping him say goodbye--and may God bless you and bring you peace, too.

Rest in peace soul man, will savor your ideas for this day.

Well, I was just gonna vote to leave 7:47 up.
Surrounded by the rest, it looks very very small. And Andrew was a blogger on the internet, and the trolls are part of the experience, and I think are pathetic funny in small quantities. I have no energy even to get mad at trolls today.

But ignore it, delete it, or leave it up. I am not going to fight about it.

Peace be with you and your loved ones sir. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having made my life richer with your final words.

"Man up and own your opinion so everyone can know what a worthless turd you are."

It's not worth it, Phil. That person's soul is shriveled and dead, and that's a terrible way to go on living.

We all saw it instantly, so there's no need for the actual killing, utterly understandable an idea that it is.

But no soul is a doom unto itself. May it only be that that person was out of their head in passing, and will gain a soul again, sooner or later.

And yes, like Doug Santo just said, Hail heroes, rest with God. You are not forgotten.

Unspeakable Sadness.

Thank you, Hilzoy, for bearing this burden.

The people making sacrifices in this war are those wearing the uniform, and their families. Not us. This brave man is dead, and tonight thousands of Soldiers and Marines will wake up, put on their body armor, grab their rifle, and walk our into the streets just like they did yesterday and the day before. They will look at the faces, not knowing who is the enemy. They will walk their patrols because it is their job, and odds are another young American serviceman will be dead tomorrow morning. A Sergeant with three years of service earns a base pay of around $2000 per month.

Thank you Andy Olmsted and may God look over you and your family. And thank you to those men suiting up to walk the line tonight. We’re losing some of the best among us.

"Major Olmstead"

Olmsted. Olmsted. Olmsted.

DPU: I'd forgotten that one. Andrew had me hunting all over the web for an hour or so for the source before he put us out of our misery and told us the source.

Heh, that post is #1 on Google when one searches "Can you tell these peas are fresh."

Which is fortunate, in case a similar situation arises in the future. ;-)

Godspeed, sir.

I am reminded of this letter:

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .

Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the first Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

re:7:54

not 7:47, and it may be gone already. And these comments aren't appropriate so delete them too. Whatever.

Andrew Olmsted is all over the internets tonight.

I've never posted here before and I'll probably never do so again, but I just wanted to bear witness that Andy's posts were among the best I've ever read (I started reading after the name change, so this is the first time I've known his real name). This one was no exception, but like everyone I wish we'd never seen it. He will be missed.

Ugh... beyond maudlin. This should have been kept private, shared among friends. Let it be a warning against self-indulgence to other bloggers with a death-post in their night table drawer.

Phil: it's gone.

Anyone else: I'm trying to keep an eye on these comments, but my eyes are not my long suit just now. So if you spot a comment that strikes you as worthy of some sort of intervention (meaning: either it's just hateful or it fails to respect his wish that we not politicize his death), please drop me an email at hbok at mac dot com.

Thanks so much.

asbfld:

I have every confidence that your post here, along with anything you ever think is noteworthy about your writing or your no doubt heroic life, will garner you at least as much karma as that which you wish on Maj Olmsted and others.

You ignominious, self-impressed shitheel.

Sensible: thanks for sharing.

Andy will be missed.

I really didn't need to cry today.

I hope his family recovers from the loss of a wonderful man. He'd want them to mourn him, but he'd want them to move on.

RIP, you willful bastard.

I wonder what Andrew would think to know his final post is linked all over both Left and Right Blogistan. Would he be flattered to reach so many, or embarrassed at such a fuss?

It would be best of course if people could see these things under less tragic circumstances.

My condolences to the Olmsted family.

Vita mutatur, non tollitur
"Life is changed, not ended"

That is my sincere belief and hope.

"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."-General Maximus "Gladiator

God speed

"May God stand between you and harm through all the dark places you must walk."

My favorite line from B5 (/Egyptian mythology)

At ease, soldier. Godspeed.

I would like to say my condolences to the Olmstead family. They have my thoughts and prayers as they go thru this difficult time. I would also like to say that thier father,husband,son,brother is a patriot just like his brother's and sister's that served along with him

too sad for words

Goodby, Andy. I really enjoyed meeting you. One of thepueblo tribes, the Hopis , I think, have the concept of the "valuable person". Not necessarily an elected person or a person of any rank or weath, but a person of great value because of how that person lived. That's you. A valuable person. A person who modelled integrity, humility, and decency. Thank you, Andy.

I just saw this. It was like a punch in the face. I haven't known anyone who died in Iraq and while I didn't really know Andrew, it felt like I did. He was an utterly decent man, and whatever one might think of the Iraq War, he's the kind of soldier you'd want representing America. My condolences to his family.

sigh

salute

7bangsx3

Taps

Fold

Present

Remember

What a loss...Major Olmsted, you have done your duty, and now you are with our maker. May God keep watch over your wife and your family, and be a beacon of strength in this time of sorrow. Thank your for your service to our country...you will be missed by your brothers and sisters in uniform and those that read your blog...God Bless you..

"I wonder what Andrew would think to know his final post is linked all over both Left and Right Blogistan." ...Nate 8:08

"As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so." ..Andrew

Feels a little weird that Andrew is the only one singing and dancing and cracking jokes around here. It's a wake, folks.

I am gonna crack the bottle, just a nip, for the first time since November 2006. And then put on some Rock & Roll.

Many times we don't think to count the cost until that cost has a name and a face. But that's how life goes. Godspeed to Andrew, and a warm embrace to his family.

We can't learn to appreciate how wonderful the sunshine is without first knowing how terrible the storms are.

SB | www.life3.org

I have tears too.

I admit, I've only read a few of Andy's posts, and several of his comments here and at other blogs Bruce Baugh pointed me toward, but that exposure has left me with a good impression, and I am sad that he's gone.

My condolences to family and friends. :(

My condolences to the Olmsted family, his unit and the ObWi community - this is a huge loss.

Sometimes, words aren't enough, but damn, he made the most of his. Rest in peace, Andrew - you did good.

If it were possible to see clearly through my tears, I may understand...but this is a heavy load to bear. Rest in peace.

Sensible:

May your funeral be surrounded by as much warmth, compassion and good will as Major Olmsted is engendering.

I have so much to say about this, and right now, I just can't think of a single word.

Sick, angry and tired of seeing so many young lives taken.

RIP Andrew.

Well, I think I will put on the Darkness, since they at least sound like they're from the early 80s, and open a bottle of whisky, and toast the Major.

If we're going to have a wake, then I guess we should do it proper, but I can't think of any jokes right now.

Would it befit a blogger to have tasteful LOLCATS at the wake?

"SO SAD--I CAN HAZ HUG?"

"UR IN MAH MEMREEZ"

To Amanda and family:

You have my deepest condolences...

I had a very difficult time excepting my own father's death many years ago. I cannot know your sadness, but we all struggle in different ways in life. Nearly all of us will eventually find deep rewarding happiness in our lives. When I find myself there, I take a moment to remind myself that you cannot regret the past, despite whatever has happened in life. For the present is but a tapestry woven from the past. Changing anything in the past could unravel its history and the present.

I wish you God's speed in find that rich deep rewarding happiness in your life once again and can look back on your loss not with sadness but rich inviting memories of the person that you love.

Manhattan, KS

Go with God, Rest in Peace. I have followed Andy's blogs for several years and learned much from him. His voice will be missed.

Another long-time Obsidian Wings lurker here, who always enjoyed and benefited from Andrew’s posts, and who is sitting at the computer crying because he’s gone. My deepest condolences to his friends and loved ones.

FRATER, AVE ATQUE VALE

Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.
--Catullus

Dear political commenters,

Please take a course in reading comprehension because you obviously can't comprehend what you've read. Or you can't read and didn't read and can only rant.

Please take a course in common human courtesy for you have none.

Please go take a hike to your favorite extreme blog and spew your bile there.

You dishonor not only a brave man - he had the strength to go where most would not - both in his writings and his actions, but you dishonor his wishes and those of your host here.

Do you generally go into other people's homes and as an opening act piss on their carpet? Yes, I thought you did.

Come back when you grow up.

Thanks Bro. Here's to you, true class shines brighter than the brass.

I have a feeling that Andrew would have been deeply embarrassed at the range of interest in his last post, and then hoping that someone is mapping it out, and working up something interesting to say about information dispersal.

Thank you, Major.

We were enriched by your Service, we are diminished by your loss.

thoreau: Would it befit a blogger to have tasteful LOLCATS at the wake?

Yes.

I cried so much, I can't even think of what to say - let alone try to do so in another language.

Andrew and I disagreed about lots of things. Once he started posting on ObWi I also read and sometimes posted on his blog. He did have a temper and I have to put effort into staying calm and reasoned myself (though having to translate your remarks helps...) so it wasn't always smooth.

But there are people with whom you can disagree without feeling that the person can be disregarded easily. You feel that they are honest, have integrity and are worthy of respect. If there positions differ from yours, you take extra time to rethink your own thoughts and feelings about the subject.

Andrew made me think harder, which is always a good thing. He also made me laugh, and we both really loved Babylon 5. I remember a thread where we discussed mainly in B5 quotes. I confess to looking up mine (quotes are not my strong suit) and he may have looked up his, but it was fun.

B5 already was associated with untimely deaths, as Gary reminded us of earlier. Though it is one of my all time favourites I don't think I will ever watch it without being reminded of Andrew.

In the Netherlands we celebrate our liberty and freedom on May 5th, but we commemorate the war death on may 4th. Originally we mainly thought about the people who died in WW2, but the last decades May 4th is used to commemorate all the people who lost their lives in war and armed conflict. The soldiers who lost their lives in a war, believing they did a good thing and that they protected the greater good, were always a big part of what I thought of during the two minutes silence we hold on that day. As from today they will have a name for me.

Sorry if I botched up the language - I've cried so much that my brain feels like cotton wool. I just feel that one shouldn't be at a wake and not share something personal.

I was late hearing this sad news. My condolences to Maj. Olmsted's family and friends and my prayers for his soul.

My grandchildren slept safe in their beds again last night, as they have every night. Who would have taken a bet on that on the night of 9/11/01? THAT is what Maj. Olmsted did with his life.

This was a very moving piece... Sad beyond words. RIP Andy. I didn't know you but you seemed to have been a very intelligent interesting person.

"...we do what we're told
told to do...

one doubt
one voice
one war
one truth
one dream"

-from "Milgram's 37", Peter Gabriel, So

I'm happy for you that you got to go doing a job you love, Andy.

Sensible: Ugh... beyond maudlin.

First, our Ugh has already expressed himself, and just as we would expect.

This should have been kept private, shared among friends.

If you don’t get that this was, then screw you, and may I say for my first time here - fuck you.

The first song that came to mind was Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory". It was a little too appropriate.

I should not have read this at work. Despite Andy's admonition, I couldn't help the tears, and had to leave early today.

His death is a loss to all of us, whether any given individual knows it or not. Despite that loss, I do not regret that he died performing his duty, because that is what he loved and how he would've wanted it. I only regret that I did not get to know him better than I did while I had the chance.

His words drew a picture of an honorable and brave human being that I "met" only on the internet and whose premature passing I sincerely mourn.

His words drew a picture of an honorable and brave human being that I "met" only on the internet and whose premature passing I sincerely mourn.

To Major Olmstead: Thank you.

To his family: Thank you for helping to form the character of a man who faced making the ultimate sacrifice on a day to day basis, and continued to do what was asked of him. No one can repay you adequately for that. I'm very sorry for your loss.

A veteran myself, I can say that the military needs the best type of individual, and there's little to attract that type of individual--but Major Olmstead was obviously one of the best. God give him peace.

Didn't know Andy. Have never read anything he posted before StumbleUpon brought me here tonite. Having read many of the posts that you folks left here though, I think I would have liked Andrew and would have enjoyed having some conversation with him. It's obvious from the comments that he was and will remain for some time, a significant influence in many people's lives. My deepest and most sincere condolences to his family, friends, and those of us in the world who never got the chance to meet him.

RIP, Andy. Thanks, for everything.

I'm new to the Obsidian Wings community, but I recognize that name - G'Kar. I knew nothing about him except that we shared a conversation a few times. I never knew he was in Iraq, or that he was married. I never knew if he was a good person, or bad. I never knew Andy Olmstead, but I feel a loss at his death. The world just seems a little more empty.

It just seems so... unnecessary.

hilzoy, sebastian, gary farber - and everyone else that knew G'Kar - I'm so sorry for your loss.

In his posts Andrew always struck me as an intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate person, and his opinions were leavened with a self-awareness of his limitations.

Every day is precious.

Rest In Peace, Andrew. May your family heal from their loss.

Andrew, I did not know you.

I do not know your friends and family.

I do however, feel such a great loss. I have tears swelling up in my eyes as I write this, and my heart and prayers go to your loved ones and family. My God give them all the strength during this time of need.

Those men and women in our military are people of such awesome character and bravery. Their constant self sacrifices will never, ever cease to amaze me. My heart goes out to every single one of them; I thank you for your Military service. My hat is off to you all.

And finally ...

Andrew, your bravery will never, ever be forgotten. We're all very proud of you for your service, and even more thankful for your bravery and ultimate sacrifice. You sir, are a true American, a true patriot, and an Angel of freedom.

God speed, Andrew.

Sadly, I never knew the Major and have just discovered his site.

So I have only a few words:

Hand Salute!


Two!

never been....here never...read another post..but this one was enough god bless you man may He guide you to his lowing arms and may He shelter and comfort those whom have lost you the world is darker for your passing....a good man a good american god bless your soul..rest in peace now its our turn

OCSteve - Thanks, hon, for your response to "Sensible". You said it for me (and lots of us, I suspect).

hil - Lord, what can I say, except that this is really really hard, and I feel rotten for you and all of Andy's friends.

To Andy's family - I'm glad you are here and can put up with all the back-and-forth in order to see how much he was valued.

You may have wondered about the existence of an afterlife, major, but there must be such a thing because honorable souls such as yours cannot possibly be condemned to darkness. God will find you whether or not you believe, and will take you in His arms.

Hope you don't mind an old Navy vet offering his salute. R.I.P Major and may your family find their own with your passing.

I didn't know Andy, but did want to leave a comment that reflects my gratitude to him, for his love for his country, and freedom, as a soldier, and knowing the cost...regardless of the political differences between anyone on the merits of being in Iraq. His own words, expressed so well, say why he was there, and I respect him for that. My prayers and condolences go out to his wife and family for their great loss.

If there are blogs in heaven, I hope you're posting. It's an awful thing to write your own last earthly post, but he went out his way. My condolences.

I sat crying at my desk at work. The paragraphs dedicated to his wife are among the most wonderful, powerful, and sad things I've ever read in my entire life.

I now have to explain to my wife why I have had tears running down my cheeks all afternoon.

Try explaining it to coworkers. I have to keep dashing to the washroom to dab and check for blotchiness.


Wife: So, you’re real upset over this person you never actually met?

Me: Yeah.

W: Huh?

Me: Well, I still felt like I knew him. He was decent, and honest, and funny, and sometimes a real pain in the ass. You know, a real person?

W: But this was online? You never met him even once?

Me: Nope. Read him a while, argued with him a bit. Never met him…

W: Huh?

Me: Yeah…

W: So you have this whole other life online I know nothing about?

Me: Well, it’s not like a dating service or anything. It was a blog.

W: What?

Me: Later honey…

Rest in Peace, brother.

I just read Andrew's last blog post. This former Marine salutes him for his honesty, his lucid commentary about his death, and I pray for his family that they are able to bear the fallout of losing a father, son, husband, and friend. I will honor him with a prayer tonight (as I hope many others do as well). I didn't fight in any war, but I served for 7 years. I was lucky, I came home in one piece and just a bit sore (having aged 14 years in 7). But I get to see my children and my family (so I feel a tad guilty). And then I remember that some of us who were lucky need to be around to honor our fallen comrades.... and so I shall (with my every being). I know it isn't enough. I'll start by stopping by the VA hospital as soon as possible to stop by a ward and lend a hand. Then I will take home a serviceman next christmas. I will contribute to a fund for the families of those who have fallen.

I know it is not enough. It is never enough. But Andrew helped me today by reminding me why I came to this country, served this country, and continue to live in this country (and openly tell others who jeer us that they know not how much the US has contributed to this world and that we are human also.... and also knowing that most people in this world would give anything to live here as well.... and many try despite our laws and borders).

All because of the sacrifice of those like Andrew.

I am humbled by his last post..... and am lost for fitting words, as there are none. But I tried......

Terrible news.

Condolences to Andrew Olmsted's family, offline and on.

Jes--
that's the perfect LOLcat. tbanks.

Andy, you will always have a place of honor in my blog and in my heart. Thanks for having the conviction to do what you thought needed to be done, thanks for being a great blogger and for sharing your life with us.
Your brothers will always be with you.
Shine on brother, shine on........

Andrew posted this bit of Tennyson once "as an antidote to the unhappy stuff" in a poetry thread:

Come, my friends
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I wasn't a frequent reader of OW, but I always found Major Olmsted's posts thoughtful and thought provoking on the occasions when I stopped in. My deepest sympathy to the Olmsted family, and my sincerest thanks for your service. Godspeed, good sir.

Jes: Andy and the unit had adopted a cat and a dog that were running around wild. A little less than a week ago, I think, I was talking to Andy on the phone, and the cat was howling in the background, and Andy was trying to get him to eat, without success. Andy loved the cat.

And the punchline to this story is: Andy was allergic to cats. Every stroke and every tummy rub had to be paid for in antihistamines. But that never stopped Andy.

I did not know this man, but reading both his farewell posting and the outpouring of grief here has left me touched and heartbroken. I only hope when all is said and done I have been half the Soldier and husband he was.

Jesse (Medic / SSG Oregon Army National Guard)

Yet another long time lurker. I'm so sad. But, ya know, I'm going to find some appropriate music and celebrate tonight the life of a man I didn't know except through his posts. God bless his friends and family and give them strength. I'm going to miss him.

Rest in peace soldier.

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