Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Things That Carried Him

It sounds trite, but if you read only one magazine article all month, read this one: Esquire's "The Things That Carried Him," about the return home of the body of Joe Montgomery, killed in Iraq.

Heartbreaking. Poignant. Poetic in its bluntness. The story finds a simple elegance in the most basic of details about how one soldier's body was brought home. You'll learn about everything from the bugler who plays "Taps" to the proper folding of a casket flag to the thoughts of the generals who must meet every casket, and more. It's journalism at its best, right there. We need to know about these things, we need to never forget how shattering war is. (Do not, do not get me started on how Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have never seen a second of combat between them.)

Excerpt: "Karen Giles tells a story about another young airman, who was polishing the brass on a dead soldier's uniform jacket. He was using a little tool, a kind of buffer, to make sure that every button shined. A visitor complimented him on his attention to detail. "The family will really appreciate what you're doing," the visitor said. But the airman replied, "Oh, no, sir, the family won't know about this." The airman told him that the family had requested that their son be cremated, and just a short while later, he was."

Of course, the article's title is a play on Tim O'Brien's fabulous book about Vietnam, "The Things They Carried."  

(Link fixed, thanks!)

That Amazon link reminds me...thanks to those of you who follow Amazon links from PCJM and occasionally buy things. I don't make money off PCJM -- ditched my one lame attempt at Google ads when they slapped some ad about PANTIES on the site. But every couple months your purchases via my links get me a small Amazon gift certificate, which is awesome. And whoever bought Photoshop after getting to Amazon via one of my links, God bless you! I promise never to link to any crap just because I'm greedy, only to stuff I would or have bought myself.


Anonymous said...

I always enjoy this blog... it's so funny, but every now and then I'll click on a link (like "The Things That Carried Him") and end up crying at work. Keep up the great work, Gael. *sniff*

Dearnah said...

I subscribe to Esquire exactly for stories such as this.

I had to read it in chunks because it kept making me cry. I just loved the way it is so powerful in its simplicity.

Thanks for linking to it so that more people will read about how our service persons are honored after death.

funtime42 said...

That was simply shattering - my soul hurts...

Anonymous said...

The link to The Things They Carried isn't working. If you fix it, I'll follow it...

cpeep said...

You know you can edit the choice ads, although it's probably not worth the trouble for the pittance it generates.

I ALWAYS clicked on the ad. Okay, except the panties one.

Extreme Cards and Papercrafting

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for this link...the article was incredible. So well written. Poignant, and sad. I was tearing up in so many places. I had to share it with everyone I know. They were equally touched.

Keep up the work. Whether you are making me laugh so hard I cry...or sharing stuff like this!