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Posts Tagged ‘Holly J. McGeogh’

Over the last few months, my dissertation research has kept me from blogging, but I wanted to make sure I took the time today to acknowledge those men and women who have died in the service of the United States of America. This year, there have been a number of remarkable tributes to these individuals, and I want to highlight two of them in particular.

The first is Map the Fallen, a Google Maps project developed by Sean Askay. A developer for Google Earth, Askay describes his work:

This Memorial Day I would like to share with you a personal project of mine that uses Google Earth to honor the more than 5,700 American and Coalition servicemen and women that have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have created a map for Google Earth that will connect you with each of their stories—you can see photos, learn about how they died, visit memorial websites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died.

Screenshot of Map the Fallen

Screenshot of "Map the Fallen"

The second is They Have Names. The site’s mission is to “tell the individual stories of our Troops who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. We believe that Americans NEED to know about the lives of each and every fallen hero. Through this knowledge, they will cease to become mere numbers and start to become real people.” Their goal is to post one soldier a week until every American warfighter who has given his or her life in the line of duty has been acknowledged.

This week, They Have Names honored Army Specialist Holly J. McGeogh who, at the age of 19, died in 2004 as result of an IED attack. Her story is one of an adventurous little girl called to the U. S. Army. Her mother, Paula Zasadnym tells the story of little girl who was “quick, fearless, and got into everything”:

One day around the age of 2 1/2 or 3, she decided that one of the family’s Chinese fighting fish might make a tasty treat. In the minute or two that Paula turned to fold clothes in the living room, she managed to catch the fish from a 10-gallon tank and give it a quick taste test-she bit it in half and ate the back part. She then ran to her mother and, rubbing her tummy, let out a huge, “Mmmmmm.” Paula couldn’t believe it and called Poison Control (she joked that this was something she had to do often with Holly, and she knew the number by heart and even a few of the names of people working there). It turned out that the fins could be poisonous and after some ipecac syrup, Holly was ok.

SPC McGeogh demonstrated this same fearlessness serving in Iraq:

Holly was deployed on April 2, 2003 to Tikrit, Iraq at one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. It would be about five or six months until they were able to establish proper restroom and shower facilities, but Holly never complained and even joked about it. She told her mom, “It’s no big deal, Mom. We all smell the same.” Her only complaint was that too many of the older, male soldiers were looking out for her and that she had too many fathers in Iraq. This was because Holly was always getting in trouble, trying to sneak in vehicles on raids and missions. She volunteered for everything and never wanted to be left out, even if it meant risking her own life.

I encourage you all to read the whole story. It is one of the many stories goes untold, because it strays from the cynical narratives that rear their ugly head even on Memorial Day to disparage and dishonor those who have been killed and injured on the behalf of a nation that scarcely recognizes their sacrifice.

Without qualification, I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to all those men and women of the Armed Services and Intelligence Community who have given everything in service of the United States–not just today, but everyday.

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