The Inland Northwest has a strong military tradition. For generations it has sent its sons and daughters into harm’s way when the nation is at war, knowing that not all will come back.
In the year that has passed since last Memorial Day, the Inland Northwest lost three men who had called the area home for all or part of their lives. Army Spc. Carlo E. Alfonso, killed in August by an improvised bomb in Iraq. Army Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin H. Todd, killed in January in a helicopter collision in Iraq. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy P. Davis, killed in March by an improvised bomb in Afghanistan.
Those three are added to the newspaper’s annual Memorial Day tribute to members of the armed forces who lost their lives in the course of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as is Army Sgt. James E. Craig, killed in January 2008 by an improvised bomb in Iraq, who was inadvertently left out of last year’s tribute. They are part of a national toll of some 610 military personnel who have died in Afghanistan since the fall of 2001 and 4,300 who have died in the Iraq war since March 2003.
By some measures, three war fatalities in a year’s time would be considered small. It is the fewest for the area since 2003.
But for the friends and families of the men and women pictured here and at spokesman.com, each death is important because each life was important. The sacrifice of each life is important to remember every day, but especially on Memorial Day.