Every day is Memorial Day now
More Americans died yesterday – Memorial Day – in Iraq.
One of them was Jeremy Loveless, 25, who was shot in the upper torso as he was reaching out of a Stryker vehicle near Mosul.
Loveless was a U.S. Army field medic. His job was to give comfort and aid to the wounded and to help save lives. Before he joined the Army, he was a volunteer firefighter with the Estacada Fire Department in Estacada, Oregon, a few miles southeast of Portland. He hoped the specialized training he’d get in the Army would later help him become a civilian paramedic. He was married to Melissa Loveless and had a four-year-old daughter named Chloe.
My heart breaks for his family and friends. It breaks for Melissa, who loved him, and for little Chloe, who’ll never get to know her daddy’s own kind heart.
Twenty-five years old. My daughter is 24 – 25 in June. It’s hard for me to think of her as an adult – even though she is – and it’s just as hard for me to imagine this young man as one, either. He was very young, really just a boy, just getting his feet wet in life, just finding out where he fit in.
Now he’s gone forever. The world will never know what sort of potential Jeremy Loveless might have had. Those he might have saved in the future, as a paramedic, now have one less angel to depend upon. It might be you. It might be me.
I don’t know what Jeremy thought of the war in Iraq. I don’t know if he felt he was there defending American values and helping to bring democracy to the Iraqis, or if he thought the war was a sham. A shame.
It hardly matters. Either way, his chosen role was to help others, not to hurt them. He was an angel-in-training.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the years at the scenes of car accidents with the local fire department, watched as the paramedics worked quickly, quietly and with supreme competence to save lives. I’ve noted the tears standing in their eyes when someone died, or was so gravely injured that they knew their efforts were probably futile. I’ve watched them, too, in their roles as firefighters, battling wildfires on rough terrain in sweltering summer conditions. Risking their lives.
These men and women are more than heroes, they’re angels. And so was Jeremy Loveless.
I don’t believe in heaven, but I hope he got his wings.