Unlike the online version of Seattle Weekly, today’s print edition contains just

Unlike the online version of Seattle Weekly, today’s print edition contains just one story, 33 pages long (the entire issue, including advertisements, contains 56 pages). It is the result of an idea back in 2002 to write a few obituaries about local soldiers dying in Afghanistan. Our President told us it would be a quick war, and we figured on doing perhaps a handful of death notices over the next year or so. But it went on, and on, followed by another “quick” war, both of which continue indefinitely. And so today you can pick up SW at the newsstand and for the first time see, in black and white, just how long these wars have lasted–393 obits long, from Army Sgt. Nathan Chapman, 31, of Puyallup, the first U.S. soldier to die in combat in Afghanistan, to Army Staff Sgt. Michael W. Hosey, 27, a Special Forces fighter from Joint Base Lewis McChord who died Saturday in Afghanistan. They’re part of the unfortunately still-running count of fallen troops who lived or were stationed in Washington state and who account for more than five percent of the 6,220 American military personnel killed in the Southwest Asia war zone from combat and noncombat wounds since October 2001. Casualties officially include more than 33,500 wounded in action and a similar number in noncombat. Another 30,000 troops were evacuated for medical and psychological conditions that included stress and depression. An estimated 360,000 have brain injuries, while several hundred troops have committed suicide in the war zone and countless more on the home front. (Here’s a link for more info and help).SW editor-in-chief Mike Seely explains in an introduction his decision to devote the print edition to these installments of death. He notes that Afghanistan “registers as but a blip on most civilians’ emotional radars” and–personally moved by the fact that August was the deadliest month yet in the 10-year Afghanistan war–he chose, “for one issue anyway,” to “atone for whatever short shrift we’ve given the wars in the Middle East . . . “The 393 dead all were based, raised, or had family in Washington. Ages 18 to 53, they left behind 246 children, 169 widows, and four widowers. Some of their deaths, such as football star Pat Tillman’s covered-up shooting by his fellow soldiers, made world headlines. But most were local stories about that kid down the street, such as Army Spc. Justin W. Hebert, 20, of rural Snohomish County, the state’s first combat fatality in Iraq. As we wrote of his 2003 funeral:

During the memorial, sister Jessica, her long, red hair falling across her face as she tried to read her notes and wipe her eyes, had briefly breathed her brother back to life. “I’m sorry for all the times I beat you up,” she said, gulping hard to talk. She was his No. 1 fan. She bragged about him, he was her red, white, and blue, Jessica said. When she got to “I’ve got to let you go now, dear brother,” her shoulders fell and she sobbed to a finish.

Likely no one in Hebert’s small town of Sylvana had been thinking of Kirkuk, Iraq, where he died, when Justin left for the Army a week after high-school graduation in 2001, a few months before 9/11. But hopefully a few will remember it, and Justin, today, for one issue anyway.Follow The Daily Weekly on Facebook and Twitter.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, who pushed for broadband funding in Washington schools. (Screenshot from murray.senate.gov)
American Rescue Plan Act funding approved for broadband investments in WA schools

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray pushed for the funding, which will benefit several King County school districts.

Courtesy photo
State offers free at-home COVID-19 tests

You can order the tests through the state’s new online portal.

Sen. Mona Das, D-47
Kent Democratic Sen. Mona Das proposes 1% cut in state sales tax

Starting in 2023; Republicans voice support for Senate Bill 5932

tsr
Federal Way police arrest suspect in fatal carjacking

35-year-old Tacoma man charged with murder in “random, brutal and senseless carjacking,” prosecutors say.

File photo.
Man accused of fatally shooting 11-year-old girl’s dog in front of her

The defendant is being charged with first-degree animal cruelty and reckeless endangerment.

Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics
Auburn, Federal Way mayors speak out against multifamily housing bill

Leaders say they don’t need state intervention.

File photo
Non-profit sponsors study on how the pandemic impacted arts and culture in Puget Sound

The study helped identify challenges faced by residents and cultural organizations in Washington

File photo
WA lawmakers propose making companies responsible for recycling improvements

SB 5697 would compel industries to report data, invest in infrastructure, meet standards.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee: Officials’ lies about election results should be crime

Governor wants lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor.

Most Read