To mark the passing of a grim milestone — the death of the 2,000th American service member in Afghanistan — the New York Times has created an extraordinary digital archive that includes every U.S. service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. The archive is presented on the Times’ website as a grid of tiny squares, with each square representing an individual. Clicking on a single square brings up a picture of the individual along with the date of their death, their age, branch of service, hometown and the theater where they died. The grid can also be searched by last name, state and hometown.
Spending even a few minutes “in the grid” is a wrenching experience, but it’s one that every American should try. Click here and meet Richard P. Langenbrunner, from Fort Wayne, IN, who died in Iraq on April 17, 2007. He was 19, though he looks much younger, despite his serious eyes. Click there and see the bright smile of Joseph A. Bovia, a Marine from Kenneth, LA, who died in Afghanistan on August 31, 2010. He was 24. Click anywhere and imagine the loss felt by family, friends and community. Click anywhere and imagine the courage of these brave souls.
Photo of Richard P. Langenbrunner from The New York Times