Local story illuminates tragedy of war

Published: Friday, Apr. 4, 2014 - 11:03 am

Re "A friend long gone, but never forgotten" (Dan Morain, March 30) Dan Morain's article about the 19-year-old local man, Robert Owen Cole, who was killed in Vietnam on March 29, 1969, and the good work of his close friend, Gordon Smith, to keep his memory alive, serves as a poignant reminder of how that distant war continues to affect the lives of families who lost loved ones.

Here was a promising young life snuffed out in a misguided adventure before he was even old enough to buy a beer or vote in an election. We need more stories like this one told about ordinary people who made extraordinary sacrifices, especially in times when we hear politicians calling for "tough" U.S. military action without ever considering the human costs. A simple local story of life, death, and remembrance can illuminate the tragedy of war in a deeply meaningful way.

-- Joseph A. Palermo, Sacramento

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