Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Sad Loss For America

Sgt. Bill Cahir

As I have posted before, I am particularly fond of our military and veterans. One of my favorite bloggers is Jon Soltz, Co-Founder and Chair of VoteVets.org, is a leader of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans community and is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

From May to September 2003, Soltz served as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom, deploying logistics convoys with the 1st Armored Division. During 2005, Soltz was mobilized for 365 days at Fort Dix New Jersey, training soldiers for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He also served his country with distinction in the Kosovo Campaign as a Tank Platoon Leader between June and December 2000. Soltz is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College with dual degree in Political Science and History. He has completed graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Here is some sad news from Jon:

This week brought tragic news that particularly hit hard for the VoteVets.org family. Among the painful and heartbreaking losses of those Killed in Action was Bill Cahir, a Marine Sergeant, killed in Afghanistan.

Bill epitomized what is so great about so many who serve our nation in uniform. At the age of 34, he enlisted, motivated by the September 11th attacks. But, his first action wasn't taking on al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He was deployed twice to Iraq, from 2004-2005, and again from 2007-2008. If Bill, a political progressive, thought Iraq wasn't the war we should be in at the time, his willingness and readiness to go and stand by his men sure took precedence over his personal feelings. Then, this May, he was sent to Afghanistan, serving in the Helmand Province, which is one of the most violent areas in the region that very few Americans know about.

Between his time in Iraq and his service in Afghanistan, Bill ran for Congress. It would have been incredibly easy - and everyone would have said advisable - to come back and rest after two tours in Iraq. But Bill, whose line of work was journalism, saw that Capitol Hill needed more leadership. His own comfort took a backseat to his sense of responsibility.

The seriousness with which he took that responsibility is why VoteVets.org PAC endorsed him in his primary race, which he ultimately lost.

And though he will never be able to make a run for office again, we at VoteVets.org are not done talking about him, or the people like him all over America who are still alive, and mix patriotism, progressivism, and sense of duty. Continuing to remember Bill and what he stood for, and standing up for the people like him, is the best way to honor his memory.

It's essential that everyone know about people like Bill Cahir, whose overriding purpose in life was to help and defend others. That's why we were heartened to see Chris Matthews devoted a segment to Bill's memory on Hardball the other day.

We're hopeful that other news shows took notice, and remember that as we debate health care or energy or stimulus funds (all of which ostensibly are meant to improve America) there are real American lives being risked every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. They want to make America better, too. It doesn't take much for the news to put a talking heads segment aside for the day (including any that I might be called to do) to tell amazing stories like Bill's.

Note: Bill left unborn twin daughters and a wife. A memorial fund has been established to help provide an education to the daughters who will never be able to meet their amazing father. You can help by making checks payable to the "Bill Cahir Memorial Fund" and sending them to: Burk and Herbert Bank, c/o Mark Ragland, P.O. Box 268, Alexandria, Va., 22313.

Bill Cahir will be buried at Arlington Cemetery. Funeral plans at this time are incomplete.

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