Editorial: Deaths drive home cost of war

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

You really don’t know how much it hurts until it happens. You really don’t know how much you’ve lost until you lose it. And you really don’t even know how to react until you’re forced to face the anguish brought on by a terrible day of war.

Much of southwest Minnesota is hurting and mourning what has been lost after a deadly bomb explosion in Iraq. The blast killed three of the region’s soldiers, and wounded eight more.

One of the dead was Jason Timmerman, a Cottonwood native and current Tracy resident who, by almost every account, was the kind of young man who would have grown into the kind of responsible leader this area so desperately needs more of.

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In some ways, Timmerman’s death alone shows us how widespread the impact was on this region: He grew up on a farm between Marshall and Cottonwood, graduated from Lakeview High School in Cottonwood, taught in Lake Benton and lived in Tracy.

In other words, he affected nearly every corner of Lyon County and reached into Lincoln.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty called all three victims heroes, and that is how they should rightly be remembered. Not only as heroes for serving in Iraq, but even for the mission in which they apparently died &045; trying to rescue other soldiers whose Humvee had overturned.

That fits with Timmerman’s life mission, it seems. He was always willing to serve others in need, and was guided by his faith &045; a faith that friends now say must sustain his grieving family.

The area has already supported families with troops serving in Iraq. Now, we must be counted on more than ever.

We can also honor their legacy by trying to live the way a soldier like Timmerman wanted to live himself &045; with decency, with care for those less fortunate, and with a sense of duty to those around him.

We often give lip service to that kind of approach, maybe because its a little old-fashioned, but also because it is probably harder work than many of us want to give.

But Timmerman did the work, made the commitments and set a memorable example for the rest of us. Let’s honor him, as well as David Day and Jesse Lhotka, the other two victims of the explosion.

Keep them in your minds, and let them guide your actions. All too often, we make heroes out of football players and rock stars, which is too bad when we’ve got real heroes &045; men who have truly sacrificed &045; in our midst all along.

&045; Independent (Marshall)