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Iraq's Tragic Toll

Thursday, December 30, 2004; Page A26

On Dec.14, I had a long layover at Frankfurt Airport. Near a coffee shop, I saw a young woman in fatigues who looked strikingly like my daughter. We began chatting.

The soldier, 21, from York County in Pennsylvania, was on her way from Afghanistan to Georgia to bury her Marine husband. She told me that they had been married only 10 months and that her husband had been killed in Iraq two days earlier.

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The young woman recalled how she heated her husband's towels in the dryer and had his shorts ready when he got out of the shower during the scant two months they lived together. She shared the story of how her husband, exhausted by a 21-mile march, rubbed her feet instead of resting.

I had tears in my eyes as I listened. I got on the plane to the United States and cried for one dead boy and one 21-year-old widow. Such useless loss is incomprehensible.



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