the other 8

the news of a u.s. helicopter being shot down in afghanistan this past weekend is everywhere. war, it seems, is ugly. regardless of ones’ political leanings or personal opinions no one can deny that death is sad. especially for the loved ones left behind.
what is hitting me in these days following this most recent loss, however, is how we speak of the fallen in war. “30 american’s killed...22 of whom were among the most elite forces our military has to offer.” i have yet to hear or read a report where the 22 navy seals killed are not called out among the 30 killed. “those 22 seals will be very difficult to replace,” i heard one reporter state. my heart sunk. 
what about the other 8? the civilian interpreter and the seven afghan troops? they, too, will be hard to replace.
don’t get me wrong, i feel deeply and sickeningly sad for every single family member of a slain service person. that’s just the point. every one of them will be impossible to replace. for their parents. for their children. for their spouses and friends and neighbors and fellow soldiers/interpreters and...
this is an issue for us in the west, however. title, position, power, or even amassed resources seem to get us more press. go to any graduation and you’ll see how academic position gives greater recognition for some. open a magazine and see how title buys recognition (how many devoted and highly integrous maintenance workers are featured in lifestyle stories)? look around at farmer’s markets to notice who can afford food from the earth? 
everyday, in the smallest of ways, we each have an opportunity to break the trend. to notice all 30 and to grieve them regardless of level of training, education, rank, or status. to thank God for making them and to honor their memory regardless of the station they achieved. to make their lives recognizing them and your neighbor and the person who just cleaned the bathroom and the farmer that grew your lunch and the person who funded your last loan and and and...