Monday, January 07, 2008

A Special Tribute: US Major Andrew Olmsted, R.I.P.

Major Olmsted was one among three of the first casualties in Iraq for the New Year. He was also an active blogger in his own blog, for other blogs and the Rocky Mountain News.

Olmsted, 38 years of age, died from small-arms fire when his unit was ambushed.

Why the special tribute?

Before dying, Major Olmsted starting writing his last blog post, with instructions to a friend to post after his death. Read it here. While the posthumous act itself was quite unusual, more awe-inspiring were the ideas that he committed to words for that last post.

But more significant for me were the words that came from somebody else:
“…it was important to know that Olmsted died doing what he loved to do — not just being a soldier, but posting his blogs for The Rocky and other sites.”
Now, isn’t that what life is all about? Doing what one loves to do. Regardless of the amount of time involved. Maj. Olmsted was 38.

Aside from what was mentioned in the quote above, Maj. Olmsted loved seeing his favorite baseball team win the World Series twice. And he was mighty proud of his extensive 80’s songs library, downloaded and ready to be listened to.

About the moustache? Was he going for the macho look? No, he just thought that Iraqis did not look too kindly on those without facial hair.

This fine soldier died in a war-torn country so the rest of us in the comfort of our homes and in the fullness of time can give pause and ponder on the wantonness of this soldier’s early demise.

This fine soldier died so the meek and gentle can gather thoughts and ask why with the utter uselessness of wars they are still breaking out in the world, with regularity and almost with necessity.

This fine soldier died so the rest of us can think and express ourselves in whatever way we desire, with freedom and without fear.

This fine soldier even died for those who may find dread or be squeamish about the brutally violent nature of a soldier’s job.

But as always things still fall neatly in place, since to each life there is a season.


  1. I made a comment on Hope's
    post about the major on his passing:

    You know Hope, I felt sad for the major and bad for his family. God bless him for his service and devotion. I have a hard time getting too mushy over this stuff though, sorry; although I'm more than happy to celebrate this good man's selfless life. There is no good time to die I suppose, except maybe when your 95 and shot in the back by a jealous husband while jumping out his bedroom window. But, as an ex-marine and airman, I just have to say we ALL got to go sometime. If I had my druthers, I'd go like he did. I lost fellow marines and airmen continuously during the 27 years I was in, usually to accidents or disease. One of our Ch53s crashed in California back in the 70s and we lost more than a dozen in one fell swoop. We all die, whether there's a war or not. We lose dozens of troops in training every year, and no one searches for "meaning" behind their tragic deaths. I do think its pretty cool that he got a chance to leave a "final post" upon his passing. Hmmmm. That gives me an idea.......

  2. Well said, Phil.

    How right you are, we see death most every day of our workaday life. The young, the old, whether by natural causes, accidents, or what have you.

    ..doing what he wanted or loved to do.

    That is significant for me. A young Oakland PD officer, close to one of the kids, died the other year sideswiped by a big rig driven by an illegal alien, while he rode his bike on the freeway going home after work.

    Of all the comments from fellow officers at the funeral, the same one as above stood out.

    Life is never about quantity.


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