The all too familiar sound of boots marching across arid desert has dimmed in recent months due to late last year’s recall of service personnel from Iraq. President Obama’s order to withdraw the remaining 39,000 active U.S. military personnel places a capstone on a simmering conflict lingering on from 2003. Yet, while these remaining 39,000 are more or less stateside by now, reunited with their far more numerous mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters and children, what of those left behind?
There are those who can never make that return trip. Over 4,400 American dead alone along side thousands of civilians and coalition forces. What does this occasion mark for them? What good does a homecoming do to those who have eyes rendered forever closed? A return is a chance to see once more the patient loved ones, the not-forgotten friends, and the sight of one’s home.
Nevertheless, those fallen, although beyond sight, are not truly gone. Their memory still reverberates in the hearts and minds of friends and family, much like the thunder of their comrade’s footwear. It is to this sound, the echoing of times past and achievements gained, that the dead mark this occasion with. The clamor of returning boots ushers in the remembrance of those lost and points towards a future