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January 06, 2008


I didn't know him and found this because a friend shared it.

I just want to say that I am truly sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great man. God Bless all of you.

Rest In Peace Andrew

His sounds like a life to celebrate rather than mourn. None of us know how long we have here. All we can do is live honestly and try to do our best.

Rest easy my brother, your day may seem done, but where you are in eternity, your words go on and on. The hearts you touched in life are richer, and hold your memory still. Those of us who never knew you have had our hearts touched also, by your words, and sacrifice, but most by your humanity.
Some may read them and go on thinking life is the same, but I know that I never will. I'll see you on the other side, were us Veterans can rest with pride. I drink Pepsi but, I'm going to the store to buy a Coke to drink for you, while humming the "Airborne Shuffle"!

One day we'll all be done with the troubles of this world, the sorrows of loss and the trials of discord...Until then, God gave us us brave soldiers to protect us and show us the true definition of honor, integrity and bravery. Rest in peace Andy Olmsted, Tom Casey and all the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price. And, thank you to their families for their sacrifice. God Bless.

From: the daughter of Soldier, the wife of an Airman and the mother of a Sailor
To: Andy's family & friends
My thoughts & prayers are with you & I thank you for the sacrifices you made each day of your lives.
Andy, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice. Your heroism is humbling and I pray you are in peace.

I came across an article this evening about a about a soldier that blogged about his own death. I knew I had to see what this blog had to say. I thought it must be a fictional story or a publicity stunt that ended with a lesson about how you should never take life for granted. Instead, I read this heart breaking blog from a man who wanted to say some final words to his friends and family and to share his love one last time.

I can't imagine how difficult this was for Andrew to write or how heartbreaking it is for his friends and family to read now that he is gone. I am humbled by this man who had the forethought to think of how his family would react and what he would want them to know.

Your family had paid the highest price any can pay for our freedom. Andrew died an honorable death doing what he felt was right and for that I Thank You.

I would like to offer my condolences to the Olmsted family. Your Family is in my thoughts and Prayers.

Thank You Andrew you gave all you had to give.

Thank you to these two brave soldiers. Thank you to these soldiers families - who have been so strong while these soldiers were deployed and who have now suffered such a loss. I pray that God holds you close as you determine how you will continue on. God bless you. From another goldstar family.

I only started reading the Major's blog last month, and put it on "favorite places" for a daily check/read. The irony is that first blog of his I read was his commenting on a wall where the prior unit had placed the pictures of their fallen comrads, and how it made him feel, and how glad he was when they deployed out, and the pictures came down. I remember him adding that how good it felt to see the wall empty, and how glad he was that in the 2 months his team had been there that they had no casulties. Since Major Olmsted never mentioned casulties in subsequent blogs, I imagine he and Capt. Casey will be the first to be put up. I pray to God that when his unit deploys out, those are the only pictures up there to be taken down. I doubt that the Major had any idea how well read and thought of his blog really was. Unfortunately the American press never presents our men and women deployed over in Iraq in human terms. There is no Ernie Pyle. Men like Andy, and Michael Yon, and a few others are our Ernie Pyles in this war. I imagine Ernie and Andy are comparing notes, and critiquing each others writing styles and comparing obituaries. If there is any justice in this world Andy will be rembered as Iraq's Ernie Pyle.

A Andy, à sa famille, à ses amis,

Dans un moment aussi cruel, nous partageons votre peine.
Nos pensées et nos prières vous accompagnent.
Bien à vous et sincèrement.
Yann (France)

Night Ranger

As the sun hides his head
For another night's rest
And the wind sings
His same old song
And you on the edge
Never close, never far
Always there when I needed a friend

Yet it's hard living life
On this memory-go-round
Always up, always down
Spinning 'round and 'round and 'round

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye

There once was a time
Never far from my mind
On the beach, on the 4th of July
I remember the sand
How you held out your hand
And we touched for what seemed a lifetime

Now it's hard
Leaving all this behind me now
Like a schoolboy so lost
Never found until now

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye

Yet it's hard
Living life on this memory-go-round
Always up, always down
Turning 'round and 'round and 'round

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye


RIP Major

As a fellow American Armed Forces Officer I feel sorry for Andy's death... but I feel even more sorry about him dying disbelieving in the afterlife.
May our Creator have mercy on his soul.
Peace... we need it!

Unlike Andy, I am at a loss of words...

God bless you and your family.

Major Olmsted,

My comment is written for those you've left behind, for I know that you are aware of my thoughts, prayers and my thanks.

It's never easy trying to make life work as a soldier, but you did it regardless. You sacrificed everything for so many people, including myself, that you didn't even know. You fought for, and went out of your way to protect everyone and everything.

The citizens of the United States Of America are in your debt.

Even though "Thanks" isn't enough for what you have done and what you have given up, I still say "Thank You".

Rest In Peace, for now you have seen "the end of war".

God Bless you Major Andrew Olmsted, God Bless you.


Ian Sullivan
North Augusta, SC

Andy has touched so many people, and hearts cry for him as we read of his death over and over.

He fighted for what he believed in, and his family although not always agreeing, supported him in his passion.

Amanda and family...

Andy, you are in my thoughts...

Major Olmsted, thank you for your service. I'm sorry that the first blog of yours that I read was your last, but I would like to say that I hope and believe that you are now in a place where you're able to see that the dent you made in the world is actually a lot larger than you gave yourself credit for. I will not forgot your last entry and so I can only imagine how much your friends and family will think of you for the rest of their lives til they see you again.....

Talented. A thinker. A lover. More good than evil.

That's really all any of us want to be.

Rest is peace, brother.

I didn't know him. I just found the post, and cried reading it, like so many others. God Bless his family and friends, he might not have believed there is an afterlife, but God believed in him. Words are no comfort in a loss like this. My brother was in Afghanistan last year and will go to Iraq next year.

I pray for Andy's family and that his wife will find some comfort in the knowledge that what her husband has written will be read by people the world over and those not even born yet. His life and death will touch many, and perhaps, make the world a little brighter place for those of us left behind.

Wife of a (former) Air Force Security Officer

I read Major Olmsted's final post and couldn't help but shed tears for a man I've never met.

Rest easy, Major.

To say the Major's blog was a breath of fresh air is an understatement.
I have enjoyed reading it over the last few months.

God bless your family, and when I make upstairs I owe you a Beer

Rest in Peace

Most of us who have risen that right hand and served our country, whether we thought an action right or wrong, did the best we could..alot of us have survived the experience...it was an Honor to be allowed to serve..to pass muster enough to be let in...We all come to know that freedom has a cost,we each accepted that cost when we took the oath...Amanda can take some comfort from knowing all the lives he touched/on and off line/are with her in heart and spirit

It's early in the morning 3 a.m I got up to see the news and followed the link of Andy's last post. It brought tears in my eyes. I have never read/heard about Andy nor his writings. I rarely commented on anyone's blog and felt to put my thoughts for a person whom I never knew. It made me realize how short this life is and how important to cherish every moment of it. My heart felt condolenses to Andy's family and friends.

Simply put, THANK YOU for the sacrifice you made for all of us!


i never knew andrew olmsted. but i woke up this morning and read some of the news on the internet and a link to this blog came up.

wow. a real person. a real man. a real soldier. god bless you and your family. i hope to live my life a little bit better and to "lighten up" a lot.

Joshua Morrell

i just wanted to send heartfelt sympathy to amanda and the rest of andys family. god bless you and my prayers are with you. he died but his words and memory lives on forever.

I hadn't read any of the blogs until today because I simply hadn't heard about them. I respect and honor all those who would defend the freedoms we enjoy, and usually take advantage of, on a daily basis. It is with that respect and honor that I leave my condolences for this fine soldier's family and friends. Your writings were amazing sir and your love of country and family obvious. Thank you for protecting my family and may God bless.

Hilzoy, God bless you, not only for what you have done for my son Andrew since his death but also for being such an extraordinary friend. Andy was lucky to have known you. My wife and I will always remember your kindness to our son.

My sincere condolences to Andy's family and friends. My sincere thanks to Andy for his blogging, and serving the USA. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

This man was a BRILLIANT writer.. Stumbled upon the Blog by accident, but now I feel that I have a much better understanding of the sacrifice he made.

I have never met him, but he will be in my thoughts, and I will never see Veteran's Day quite the same way.

Thank You Andy.

All I can say is what a guy, friend, husband, son, mentor, soldier and cyber friend. Andy was all these things and more to a lot of different people. God Bless him and his family. To all these reading this next time you are in the airport, bus station, train station or wherever and you see these brave soldiers please say thank you.

I hope that when the moment came he had a moment of peace and felt no pain.I hate war and everything that comes it.God bless you man.

thank you Andy for everything

My condolence to Amanda for her lost and the family of Cpt. Olmstead. May God bless his soul. Namaste!

My condolence to Amanda for her lost and the family of Cpt. Olmstead. May God bless his soul. Namaste!

a few notes:

My name is CPL Long of 1-16 IN, 1st BGD, 1st IN DIV (Ft. Riley). I happen to spend much time with Transition Teams. Didnt know the Major personaly but i read this and couldnt let it pass me by without paying a little respect.

To Major Olmsted, i say thank you for your service to the United States Of America and all who call it home.

To the family, im sure you are with no regret to the sacrifice that has been made. For it was one put forth by someone who understood (in my opinion) two most important values, important not only to Soldiers but to Americans aswell- Duty and Honor.

Rest easy Sir.

R.I.P. Sir ~S~

That’s one letter that describes a life loved and worth having lived. I only wish that we all could write one like that in the sense that we could be as happy about our life as Major Andy Olmstead was about his.

See you when we all get there. I'll be proud to shake your hand Sir!

Chris Parnos, Athens, Greece
Ex C 2/75, 1980-82

Just wanted to send my condolences to the Olmstead Family, friends and readers. I read about the good major today in Stars and Stripes and just had to check out his blog.

I've read several books about the war that started out as blogs. Hopefully, someone at the RMN will make a book of Andy's.

It's a shame that I heard about his final post. I would have liked to have known him sooner.

Steven Hoover
Public Affairs Specialist
Benelux EDGE staff writer
USAG-Benelux PAO
CMR 490, Box 2047
APO AE 09708-2047

What a loss. I'm glad that Andy was open to the concept of an after-life, even if he had his doubts. If, in choosing to believe, it turns out there really isn't a life beyond this one, what have we lost? Nothing. But even a faltering faith in an after-life gives us some hope and comfort in this life. Andy seems to have been a man who was bigger than life - it comforts me to believe he is gracing heaven today. My heartfelt condolences to Andy's family, friends, comrades, and fans of his blog.

I regret never have met him. My prayers go out to his wife, and the family of CPT Casey, as well as SFC Beaver.

I just "met" Andy through a fellow blogger and I wish I'd met him sooner. I love his candor and self-depricating writing style. Sounds like he was a heck of a writer and a heck of a guy.

His blog is a testament to his love of writing and the power of friendship, as exhibited by hilzoy, who knew how important the whole blogging world was to Andy and by Cpt Casey who rushed in to aid his friend.

Prayers and hugs to Andy's family and ALL that have been affected by this war. May we celebrate Peace soon.

Rest in Peace, Andi

As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran who made it back to the States, I can tell you that lives are changed, damaged and/or destroyed whether or not the Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine makes it back. I am not sure they ever make it "home." I am so sorry you are gone, Major Olmsted. I am very glad you are at peace. I wish peace to your family. I wish peace, most of all, for this nation and the world.

I didn't know Andy at all. In fact I never heard of him until I read hid final blog. He is what Americans are. He is a hero in my small world. I never knew him and I will never forget him. Godspeed Andrew and goodbye.


From a pilot whose brother is in the 2nd Ranger BN

"I give you this one thought to keep~
I am with you still, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone~
I am with you still, in each new dawn."

Native American poem

Do you think he would have liked this? In the morning, before anyone else is up, I think I will take a cup of coffee out on the porch, & listen to the wind, the birds & think of Andy--who I never met, in life.
My uncle, a WWII survivor from the Aaron Ward, also preferred "the New Orleans style" send-off to a grim funeral. After his service, his daughter, my cousin, commented that he would have loved to see us all gathered after, laughing & telling his stories, together, & reaffirming a common connection.
Andy liked '80's music--anyone know how he felt about Meatloaf?

Andy's final blog was one of the most moving things I've ever read. Never met him or even heard of him prior to reading the blog, but even without knowing him, it's obvious the world is a lesser place without him.

My condolences and sympathy to his family and friends - he was clearly a special bloke.

My condolences go out to the family of major Olmsted. Thank you for your will to protect and serve our great land and way of life. You will never be forgotten. Your family will be in our prayers.

I've been a long time lurker here, but rarely comment. I remember several of Andy's posts. Some I agreed with, some I didn't, but all made me step back and think. I haven't commented yet, because I didn't quite know what to say - this is such an overwhelming thing. But I have much to express, so here it is, as condensed as I can make it.

Andrew, you lived a life to be proud of, and died a death that was the same. That alone is more than most can hope for in this world. I didn't know you much at all, and you didn't know me, but I feel privileged for what little I did know. Thank you - for your writing, for your sense of duty, for your caring, and for your hope. Thank you for showing us a life well-lived.

Amanda, and the rest of Andrew's family and friends, thank you as well. Our friends and family are part of what makes us who we are. While Andy was a great man in his own right, each of you played a part in who he was, however small. I know there are no words that can comfort you right now, but I hope that all of the support you can see on this and other blogs helps in some way. And I know, Amanda, that if there is a way to see you again, this man is strong enough and brave enough to find it.

"Go, stranger, and tell the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their laws."

Simonides's epitaph to the three hundred soldiers who died fighting Persian invaders at Thermopylae, Greece

"Strength & Honor"

Maximus Decimus Meridius - "Gladiator"

Andy was a soldier through and through. He served his country well and made us all proud. He made us think and made us laugh.

Wars may be necessary but your death seems so wrong. Thank you, Andy, for your ultimate sacrifice for our country. You will be sorely missed by your family in Maine - especially around reunion time. RIP, Sir.

A man among men.
A great loss.

My condolences to Maj. Olmsted's wife and family. Also to the family of CPT Casey.

by William E Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

My condolences to Andy's family and friends.
A true solider who gave his life doing his job. That is never a waste..
There is no greater sacrifice than what a solider does for his country.

Not many of us would do what he has done.
I really liked how elgently he taled about war and I do hope we remember his advise not to take any war lightly because it comes at terrible price to many people.

God Bless you and your family!!!
Thank you so very much for your greatest gift.

God Bless you Andy.

Thank you for offering up your precious time here on earth to protect and defend my own.

To Andy's family - I pray that God blesses you and keeps you within his care and comfort during this horrible time and always.

While politicians pontificate, guys like this die for us!

Thank you, Andy -- for your sacrifice and your sincere, profound words.

Goodbye, Brother. I never read your blog, but wish I had the chance to know the last thoughts of friends I lost over there. I pray for those you left behind. We'll meet you on the high ground.

A Fellow Soldier



Andy's last blog showed the depth of his humanity and his humor, his quotes from Babylon 5 expressed to me his sense of purpose in being part of a larger circle (FYI: Babylon 5 was full of dark days for all of humanity, and yet, civilization in B5, with its many different cultures, was able to persevere in the end).

My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends

Reflection just makes this worse.

I didn't know Andy well, but I always held him in high regard. His writings for this blog were always considered, as well as consistently excellent.

Yet, Jack Fong's mention of Simonides's epitaph for the 300 Spartans reminds me of Pericles' words of behalf of the Athenian dead. The Andrew Olmsted whom I knew -- if knew not nearly well enough -- seemed more Athenian than Spartan, at least in his writings. So I offer my favorite passage here, FWIW:

If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful in our tastes and our strength lies, in our opinion, not in deliberation and discussion, but that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. ....

Pericles, "The Funeral Oration"

May we always have the power of thinking before we act, and of acting too. Major Olmsted surely did.

I just stumbled upon this post and it blew my mind, totally.

I want to thank you for showing me that life is short for some and to realize what is important in this life. to live each day like it is my last. YOU are a hero because you represented my freedom with your service.the world will go on without you, but it will be a better place because you were in it BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

My dad served in the military, as did all three brothers in differenet wars, different eras. We were fortunate, but some are not, and they sear pain at my core for those who bravely send, then wait, for the ones they love. They are brave, strong, and heroes too.

Nothing done or said can possibly be enough. But it's all we have.

To "Mjr. Andy's" wife and family: we are so very, very sorry.

My condolences to his family.

I find it a bitter-sweet testiment to Andy's life, the number of caring replies that can be read at both sites. My thanks to you, Hilzoy, for honoring Andy's wishes. I doubt it was an easy thing to do, but there's no doubt it was the right thing to do.

Thomas Campbell once said "To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." Andy's still with us--let's not forget him.

Wow - I wish I had been able to meet you - what a wonderful soul. Thanks for your service and sacrifice. Much love and hugs. You will be remembered fondly...

I disagree with every reason that we are in Iraq, but all the same I respect your service and consider you an honorable man for being there. You've taken all the good Babylon 5 quotes, so I'll leave one from Tolkein for your friends and family.

I will not say "Do not weep" for not all tears are an evil.


What a disappointing way to be introduced to a blogger. Thank you Andy for your unwavering service to our country. Thank you for all your sacrifices.

To Andy's family and friends: my heart goes out to you (for what it's worth). Words feel so trivial, especially viewed on a screen. One wishes to do more, or say something profound... I can only say I'm jealous. I never knew Andy.

God bless you Andrew, Your family, all our soldiers still fighthing this war. And every miltary person who has ever served in war time or peace, so America can be free.

Rochester NY




HUGS, D & T.

Thank you.

I am the proud daughter of a WWII vet and the wife of a Vietnam era vet. There are no words of comfort I can offer Andy's family except, Thank you for his service and sacrifice. May his spirit be with you always. Wish I could know you.

Just a quick note to those of you who run this site and are in the band of bloggers that Andrew befriended...you have done him a great honor in your behavior, in your action and perhaps mostly in your restraint. Restraint is a critical (and oft forgotten) requirement in a free society and it is in woefully short supply on the Internet. You have elevated Andrew’s life and his memory and in so doing have elevated yourselves.

To those who served with Andrew...please know that there are many Americans you've never met who are deeply grateful to you, who respect that you choose to serve for your own reasons, and are trying each day to live lives that are worthy of such a sacrifice. I acknowledge that I can never live such a life, but I will not dishonor you by not trying.

Lastly, to Major Olmstead...my son is two years old. I will teach him about you and Captain Casey. I don’t know how to honor you more than that.

Charles Wicht

Though I've never met you, after reading your blog, I feel like I know you. Thanks Andy, for reminding me that life's too short not to go after the things you love.

Holy cow. What an incredible impact this man had on the world.
Andy - I hope that wherever you are you are watching what a difference you made in people's lives.

And to Andy's family and friends - I am so sorry for your loss. The world today looks to be a smaller, meaner place.

Rest in peace, mate.

Those who live in the hearts of others....
Never die.

Our deepest condolences to Andy's family and loved ones.

Some will question the validity of the war, some will try to minimize the impact of your service. For myself, all I can say is thank you.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

I'm so, so sorry for your loss of those that knew Andy, so sorry. I read of Andy's death on military.com, so went to his blog and read his last post. It was very touching to say the least. May Andy rest in peace. :-(

Well ran into this post via a link on bill oriellys site. Anyways didnt know him but from that last post he sounds uber. He liked Babylon5 and saw the many wise quotes from there! He also seems to be wise in of himself and have a funny personality. You will be missed dude!

My condolences to Andrew's friends and family.

(About all I want to do right now is cuss - so I'll leave it at that and go do my cussing in private.) He will be missed.

Thank you Andy...for allowing me the privilege of sharing the sorrow of one taken too soon. It is a privilege my government has not allowed me. Rest assured...you are remembered.

What a loss. I was originally disappointed last year when Andy posted on his blog that he had to stop posting due to some military rules. I was a regular reader and sometime commenter there. Today I discovered that he has been killed. His final post was amazing. I hope it gives comfort to his grieving wife and family.

My prayers go out to his family. I can't imagine their pain but I hope they are comforted by the memory of the outstanding man he was. He died doing what he chose to do. How many people can say that?

To Amanda and the wives and family members of the other 2 heros.
My thoughts and condolences are with you in this time. I know from experience the pain of being the only half left of a soul. May god be with you and grant you the peace that passes all understanding. Thank you. = Anita

Such courageous men and boys who choose to fight in this awful war that can only lead to more tragedies. They are truly our Nations Heroes. God Bless the U.S.A. and the soldiers.

May you rest in peace. To the Olmsted and Casey families, please accept my heartfelt condolences. These men are true heroes.

As a US Army veteran, I'm speechless and humbled before the courage and valor our soldiers represent. ~RIP~


Thank you for your sacrifice. Winston Churchill once said "Never was so much owed by so many to so few" May God Bless you and your family and all the men and women who keep America Free.

Andy you are a hero. I can think of no higher honor than to have the gratitude of a nation for all you have done.

Rest in Peace where there are no more burdens.

Gary - I wanted to thank you for posting a link to Andy's reasons for going to Iraq. Not because I needed to know his reasons because, surprising enough to me, I had figured that out, but because it gave me a chance to hear his voice one more time.

I will be attending his memorial service in CO and perhaps I shall be able to meet you in person if you are there.

I still feel as if I am on the edge of a great darkness and there is no end to it. Each day helps the healing I guess.

I know that these comments have been much appreciated by me and have helped a great deal. I always knew Andy was special, I just didn't know how many other people knew it too.

This is the coolest thing I've ever read. I've never read any of his blogs or anything but a blog posted upon your death. I'm not very good with words but what I'm trying to say is that's just beautiful.

Today, my daughter brought my attention to Major Olmstead's blog and this unfortunate event that occurred. As I read the condolences, I was made aware that the Major also had a newpaper blog which I tapped into and found a very appropriate tribute that was written by Major Olmsted himself, entitled: "No Greater Love" written Saturday, November 17 at 10:34 PM

"Every day I'm on the FOB, I walk into the squadron headquarters building to check in. That was was easier in recent weeks, because the pictures were gone. For the first few months we were here, every time I walked into the building I had to walk by the memorial to all the soldiers from the squadron who had died during the deployment. It was impossible to walk by and not notice them. Brave young men who died long before they should have, far from home. When that squadron rotated out of our FOB, though we had a very good working relationship, I did not miss seeing that wall every day.

Better yet, for the first four months we were here, not a single soldier affiliated with our FOB was killed, and few were even wounded. Things were still dangerous, but luck was with us. That luck ran out last week.

A convoy heading back from a mission took a hit and lost a man last week. They evacuated him very quickly, but the damage was too severe, and he died of his wounds within a few hours. The squadron continued to operate, of course, but they also prepared for their first memorial service. It was hard.

Several soldiers and the soldier's commander spoke of the deceased. Naturally, one expects nothing but good things to be said at a memorial service, but these soldiers made it pretty clear that they had lost a dear friend. He had done quite a bit in a short career in the Army; this was his second trip to Iraq already. He had been planning to go on to college soon, and hopefully, to get married. His whole life was arrayed ahead of him. Now all that remains is the memories of his friends and family.

After the remembrances and a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace, the ceremony closed with the salute to the deceased. In small groups, all of us came up to the display commemorating the fallen, took a moment to gaze down at the dog tags, the helmet, the empty boots, and then we came to attention and saluted our fallen comrade. There was no time period allotted; one could stay as long or as short a time as one wished. I had never met the soldier, but I found it very difficult to keep my eyes clear as I saluted a good man who had so much more to offer the world.

We are in a dangerous business. Soldiers die in war; there's no way around it. But that knowledge does not make those losses any less bitter."

Major Olmsted, I did not know you, but I salute you.

Major Olmstead, I stand in awe of you. Though I love my country, I have never served, so I cannot understand the level of patriotism you possess, nor can I fathom the sacrifice you, and now your loved ones, have made. Thank you for your final post. I have never quite been so moved by something on a blog! When the tears dry, I'll read it again.

God bless you and keep you and comfort Amanda and your family. Your sacrifice was not in vain.

thank you to this soldier---and to all the others

hilzoy, to you I say thank you. There is no way you could have anticipated the responsibility you have had to take on this past week when you first decided to host a blog. What started out as a portal of communication has now become a memorial for someone you meerly met through modern technology. Again, I thank you. I have been living day in and day out like most Americans. I wake up, go to work, read the occasional "interesting" news and go on with my day. All the while never realizing what was really going on in my world. Of course there was the everyday news about the markets, housing problems, politics, and oh yeah, the soldiers that were killed in Iraq. Unfortunately, I became like most people and just started accepting these newslines. Read them and moved on. They didn't directly affect me or my family so it has been easy to dismiss. I don't mean to sound shallow but I have to be honest. Ironically, I have been attending a non-denominatinal church for the last 6 months and recently we have been studying after-life, or Heaven. Let me disclaim, I am not a religious freak. I have just had some real pointed things in my life lately that have made me believe that there is some higher power. This story was one of those things. I signed on today and for whatever reason the news about Andy caught my attention. I read his final post and was compelled to pursue and read any and all the blogs he wrote. I went even further and followed the blogs that related to him, his death, his family, and/or his fellow commrads. I was truely moved. I met Andy today. I met his family and friends. How I feel now does not even come close to how I felt when I first decided to click on the news link that appeared on my screen earlier today. I have to believe that these things happen for a reason. I literally just told someone dear to me that I nearly lost my breath in church during a lecture about after-life/death this past Sunday. It scared the hell out of me (pardon the pun). I realized how insignificant our life here on earth is compared to the time I will spend in eternity. I have since decided that I need to do whatever it is I want to do because we only have one chance here. I need not be concerned with my fears but rather push them aside and do the things in life I need and/or want to do. Major Andy Olmsted did just that. From what I have read, he was very humble about his accomplishments and doubtful that he would leave a legacy after his death. The fact is as he has stated, he was living a life that he enjoyed no matter what the consequences. Although it appears he did not have faith in an after-life, I believe that he is seated at the right hand of the Lord and was chosen because of his earthly qualities. Sorry guys, again I stress that I am not one to preach about religion and/or God nor do I come anywhere close to having the qualifications to do so (whatever they may be). This story has come to me at a turning point in my life and has really touched my heart, my soul. I truely believe that everything happens for a reason and for the most part we never know why until it does. For many, Major Olmsted's blogs have led to this outpouring of grief and condolences. Frankly, he put so many people in touch with a real person. Not just some side-bar news article about another soldier that was killed thousands of miles away. Andy, whether you like it or not you are a Hero! You died trying to save the lives of people that hate you for reasons THEY don't even understand. You probably saved the lives of thousands and/or even millions that will never know, at least not in this life time. I admire your request to not politicize your death but the simple fact that you have humanized the deaths of so many soldiers of so many wars will undoubtably have an affect on someone that can make a difference in the future of war making decisions. The bible says that you should always give but give anonimously. You have done just that and I thank you for it. Thank you, for introducing me to you through your blogs, but most of all, for your sacrifice. I am awake now. I will not take life for granted anymore.

Like so many others posting here, I did not know Major Olmsted, but I would like to add my deepest condolences to his family and to the family of Capt. Casey. I can only imagine the depth of their sorrow.

From Major Olmsted's beloved Babylon 5:

"Faith sustains us in the hour when reason tells us that we can not continue, that the whole of our whole lives is without meaning."

Brother Alwyn Macomber, The Deconstruction of Falling Stars


I wish to offer my deepest sympathies and respect to Major Olmsted and Captain Casey's families. Thank you for your sacrifice.

SFC Will Beaver, many prayers for your full and speedy recovery.

To Military Transition Team, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas: My sympathy on the loss of your brother. I appreciate your personal sacrifice to insure my safety and freedom. I promise to never forget it.

Godspeed Andy and Tom.

A Grateful American

Holy Cow, this is CRAZY! I am sitting here in my office, incidentally in IRAQ, reading yesterdays Stars and Stripes, and I come across the great quote on the 2nd page about if you are reading this I am dead, but you are not, take a moment to be happy about that, or someething to that effect, and I turn to the page and read the story, they say go to this website for the full post, and I am BLOWN AWAY! What a great post. There really aren't adequate words. It was simple, it touched me, and I wanted to read a few of the posts, and I jsut couldn't stop, I have now spent at least an hour on this and I can hardly beleive the sheer number of posts. I had never heard of him, not into blogging, none of this stuff. I actually get the opportunity to meet many wonderful soldiers and a few bad apples. Many brave idealistic and a few brave cynics. I personally beleive in what we are doing here, or shall I say what THEY are doing, since I am a civilian. I am working MWR so I am around when the guys and gals just wnat to relax, play some poker or pool, and chill. Watch the football games on tv or find a decent book to occupy their time. Let me say that thanks God there are many men such as this, but to those who knew him and those who loved him, he is one of a kind. He sounds like a truly remarkable man, and to those who knew him, consider yourselves lucky. RIght now, in honor of him and his sacrifice, and I am listening to some old 80's and I grabbed a coke from our fridge, which is old style with Arabic writing and the old pull tab. Cheers to you Major Olmsted! Allow me to tell all there IS an afterlife, and he (Andy) is very well aware of the outpouring, and I swear to you, he is amazed and beside himself at the sheer volume of varous lives he has touched. TO his immediate family, God be with you, wven with all the pain, the knowledge that he is stillin your heart shall sustain you, and this pain too, shall pass (or at least diminish with time) until the time comes where you can smile fondly, grin and bear it, and remember, even if you do not believe in God, He believes in you. (the Priest, The Count of Monte Cristo) [i thought andy would appreciate a quote;-)] God bless ALL our soldiers, marines, airmen, corpsmen, serving in Iraq. This cause is noble, and those who serve in it have honor. thanks.

I was deeply touched by this. The world does seem a poorer place without him, and I never even met him. I don't feel that way about most people I've actually met.

My sincerest condolences to the families of those bereaved of such brave and honest soldiers.

from Sparta,Greece
great person,great son and husband,outstanding soldier.Our sympathy to his family and especially to his mother.On behalf of the humanity thank you for raising your son the way you did.

from Sparta,Greece
great person,great son and husband,outstanding soldier.Our sympathy to his family and especially to his mother.On behalf of the humanity thank you for raising your son the way you did.

Thank You. Mission Complete soldier, you can go home now.

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