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Yesterday evening, four American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb. Now, just days after we marked the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, we acknowledge another milestone: 4,000 American troops have died in Iraq. (For more information on soldiers who have been killed, you can go to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count and USA Today.)

On today's program, we'll hear from a widow of a soldier who was killed in Assadah; a Marine who lost six friends in a suicide attack; a father whose son died near Haditha; and a reporter who has written hundreds of obituaries for the Fayetteville Observer. If you've lost a brother, sister, son, daughter, co-worker, or friend in the war in Iraq, we want to hear from you. What was he or she like? And today, when you read that 4,000 troops have been killed, how do you mark that loss?



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Two of the soldiers killed in Iraq were people I knew. The first was a member of my church, and the second was a fellow member of my son's graduating high school class.

Sent by David Youngquist | 2:13 PM | 3-24-2008

I was just listening to your show about the four soldiers that just died and the fellow who said Bush and Cheney chickenhawks should be in jail for what they have done to this country is 100 % correct. I can't believe what they have gotten away with. Our economy will suffer for years because of them not to mention the lives that have been wasted in Iraq.

Sent by Barbara Flaig | 2:27 PM | 3-24-2008

Talk of the Nation is one of my favorite NPR programs and I think Neal Conan is one of the best interviewers on radio. I was disturbed today when the man who lost a son and was so angry at the administration talked about his point of view. I felt Conan gave him short shrift and was too anxious to avoid controversy to honor his feelings. Thanks for listening!

Sent by Lois Fine | 2:33 PM | 3-24-2008

4,000 is tragic; one is tragic.

I am a pacifist. I do not support the war, and I can not support the troops.

These people volunteered to join an organization designed to bully, dominate, and kill. They are not heroes; they are tragic souvenirs of a "Might makes Right' mentality.

I find the tenor of this discussion disturbing.

Sent by Gregory | 2:33 PM | 3-24-2008

I think it's reprehensible how you can shoo away the distressed father who was mad at the Republican regime's false pretenses for entering the war which got his son killed and then talk for at least twice as long with the guy who thinks you fight just for fightings sake and it doesn't matter why you're there.

Better than that though was how you asked the reporter how he manages to "keep it fresh" when he still reports on soldiers deaths.

Sent by Garrett Obluck | 2:38 PM | 3-24-2008

I want to express my sympathy to the man who called, whose son Patrick, died
in Iraq in 2006. There have been too few tributes to those who have died there, and acknowledging who they are is a basic but important way to do it.
To the grieving father of Patrick, I am so sorry you lost your son. I agree with your feelings about those whose policy got us into this mess, and I hope you will at some point be able to find some peace of mind. I know we can't know what you're feeling, but your voice and your words told me a lot. You're not alone in your sentiments, and many of us are very interested in a new kind of leadership, a new kind of perspective for our country. Take heart that many people heard you today, and we share your sadness.

Sent by Beppy | 2:43 PM | 3-24-2008

I agree with Garrett Obluck, you must be afraid of Bush Cheney if you have to shush a grieving father the way you did.

Sent by Barbara Flaig | 2:45 PM | 3-24-2008

Today when you honor individuals who die is not the time for this, but I hope in a future program you will address the financial cost of the war that we all bear. $400,000,000 a day is not a small amount and prevents us providing healthcare to all, a sound infrastructure, and support for education and scientific research. Our budgeting system excludes these amounts so politicians rarely talk about this cost. Spending on the war may achieve the Republican goal of smaller domestic expenditures, but it is something we all need to understand better. As long as resources are limited, Americans should insist on full disclosure of where all our funds are spent.

Sent by Deborah Jackson Weiss | 2:47 PM | 3-24-2008

This is an incredibly sad story and as I drive and listen I can't stop the tears as I think of the profound loss of the families and lack of caring by the Administration in Washington.

Sent by jake | 2:48 PM | 3-24-2008

As a reporter from Southwest Virgina who has covered the death of two soldiers in Iraq, the most memorable moment involved Army Sgt. Michael Dooley. He died early in the war during a checkpoint ambush. I went to his mother's house the night he was killed. But a week or so later I dropped by Ann Davis' to just say hi and several of her and Michael's freinds were gathered on the porch. She called me up and asked if I wanted a drink of the white rum she was preparing to send her son before he was killed. It was in a Scope bottle and colored with green fod coloring. There were six or seven us there and she poored us each a shot and a half in plastic cups. We toasted Mic hael, knocked back the rum and after a half hour or so I left, my stomach and heart warmed by the scene.
-- Don Simmons Jr
Check VA

Sent by Don Simmons Jr. | 2:54 PM | 3-24-2008

i just can't listen to your show today. i heard the call from heath's mom and patricks dad and i was filled with grief and sorrow and had to tune away. i am sorry for their loss and i am sorry for the losses this war has inflicted on all of us.....

Sent by duggan (in boxborough, mass) | 2:55 PM | 3-24-2008

I am grieving for all who have lost loved ones in this senseless war. I listened to your program during my lunch hour... I wanted to turn it off because of the challenging interviews but I wanted to honor those who suffered and are suffering. I would like to acknowledge all the women who have died in this conflict... both US and Iraqi women...

Sent by Diane Corsick | 3:36 PM | 3-24-2008

As a US military veteran with 12 years of active duty, i am deeply saddened by the horrific milestone of 4000 American service people killed in Iraq. My heart goes out to their families. But how callous and self centered is it to devote so much attention to the 4000 dead Americans and almost none at all to the much much higher number of Iraqis killed (over a million according to some estimates) since we invaded their country based on cooked-up evidence of non-existent WMD's? President Bush should be indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity for the carnage he is responsible for. The blood of the 4000 as well as all the innocent Iraqis is on his hands.

Sent by Andy | 3:36 PM | 3-24-2008

I am Canadian and my uncle was killed in Belgium during WWII. He wasn't married yet and didn't have children, but since that time, there still not a day, I believe, that someone in his family doesn't think of him. His mother, my grandmother, died in 1971. Six of his brothers are still alive as well as his sister as well as a couple of dozen nieces and nephews. We all remember him still, even if most of us never knew him.

Sent by Louise Farant | 4:18 PM | 3-24-2008

the reporter keeps saying "GUYS"... women have died in this war also. please!

Sent by June Odom | 4:38 PM | 3-24-2008

I was listening with great interest today untill you let the anti war complainers go on and on. How selfish and short sighted they are. I turned the program off because of them. Too bad.

Sent by Stephen Garfield | 4:54 PM | 3-24-2008

The loss of life, of both coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians is appaling enough, but the wounded and, by extension, their families who will forever be affected by this dwarfs those numbers, and will shadow us for years ahead. This makes Bush's willingness to sacrifice others' interests for his legacy even more appaling.

Sent by Eric Larson | 5:16 PM | 3-24-2008

After listening to today's program, I wrote the following for Families of the Fallen ...

"I wuz helping the fallen get back up
When a roadside bomb removed tomorrow
And now my fate is sealed
And now my flag is furled
And now my parents' tears water the cemetery seedlings
Hoping that before any more fall
My nation
Will get back up!" (c)

Sent by Don Mustell, Portland, OR | 6:18 PM | 3-24-2008

I heard parts of this today around 4:30. I just got home and had to make comment. I think EVERY DAY the American people should hear these stories and EVERY day American Newspapers should have a banner across the Top of the paper reporting the number of US Soldiers dead, the number of Iraqi citizens Dead, the number of injured Soldiers, the number of Iraqi citizens displaced, the dollars spent. EVERY DAY. But at least you did it today. I can't seem to hear the whole piece, it keeps stopping. Augie's father mentioned an organization he is involved with. What was that? All American people that say they support the troops need to be doing something. Not just a sticker on the car. I for one, believe the best way any of us can support the troops is demand that we bring them home now.

Sent by Shelley Napier | 9:46 PM | 3-24-2008

I am a grown man, a multi-conflict combat veteran, and an Officer in the National Guard. I was in tears after listening to Patrick's father. I do believe he should have been given more airtime. The mistake in Iraq has been made, we have to do what is right and secure Iraq before we leave. We can not create a mess and not clean it up. It would only give those with ill will towards us more reason to hate.

Sent by G | 10:08 PM | 3-24-2008

My heart goes out to the father in Minnesota who lost his son. And I agree the Bush and Cheney should be called upon to pay for their crimes. Instead I fear that they will reap the harvest of those bases they are building in Iraq for many years to come. Lets bring the troops home and let Haliburton pay for its own security.
Again, I am sorry for the losses,

Sent by Edith Matteson | 12:01 AM | 3-25-2008

The segment where people called in was perhaps the best any media has done. As a nation without a draft the war is not personal to most of us. If it isn't personal then we as a nation don't feel the ongoing pain which war inflicts through loss of life and injury. You gave these losses a voice which people could hear and feel. We as a people, as a nation, need to be that close or closer to understand the suffering and loss this and any war causes.

Sent by Phil Ward | 12:13 AM | 3-25-2008

Steven Garfield I pity you = You just don't get it. Bust, Cheney and Rumsfeld have captured you with their lies.
Have you know feeling? Do you not get it?
I was thrilled to hear the father who so eloquently and agonizingly expressed his rage at this administration that has lied about every thing about this war. This war was for profit - the business of war is war!!! Do you not recall what General Eisenhower said?? my heart aches for the families who will never again see their loved ones. Who will forever carry their grief with them ... and live with the knowledge their beloved died for war profiteers and politicians. Damm them all. Wake up America!! And for those are heart aches for you.
I cannot bear to hear of more deaths. And Neal, you have a habit of cutting off those who might offend the administration. Let them speak!!!!

Sent by Charlotte Sudakov | 1:26 AM | 3-25-2008

Thank you so much for bringing those soldiers back to life. My husband Steve served in Iraq with SSG Justin Estes, nicknamed Dutch, the one example Kevin Mauer picked out to illustrate how unique every soldier's story is. Dutch happens to be the reason my husband is still alive, and the reason we now have our 3 year old son, Kory. Dutch literally ran over my husband during a PT basketball game and shattered Steve's wrist. This meant an unexpected return home - and soon we found we were expecting! So many stories go untold, mainly the ones that talk about all the other people's lives that are touched when one soldier gets deployed. It is time that the public hears those stories, in order to get an idea of what being at war really means. The average American's life is hardly affected by what's going on in "the theater"- but those who are certainly appreciate your broadcast. Thank you.

Sent by Jutta Cook | 11:15 AM | 3-25-2008

About Clinton's odds: How can a person as informed as your commentator claim without hesitation that people are asking Clinton to retire because she is a woman. People asked Mike Huckabee to do the same thing just a few weeks ago, on virtually the same basis: that he had virtually no chance of winning!

Sent by Chris K | 2:32 PM | 3-26-2008

I've said many things about the war in Iraq. As a cultural anthropologist, journalist, and active member of my N.C. community, I've worn out diatribes against an increasingly conservative mainstream culture and the murder it enacts on all of our humanity. I'm an avid NPR listener and I'm versed in the casualty stats and costs of this war.
Still, today as I tuned in to "Talk of the Nation" and got about my afternoon routine, my perspective changed. As I stood speechless before the radio, listening to Daniel Scroeder tell his story, I realized that I knew his son. I knew Augy (Augustus) Schroeder.
Graduating class of 2000 in the tightly knit school district of South Orange/Maplewood, NJ, I remember Augy and can see us still as seven year olds in Mrs. Carnegie's second grade class. He is the first of our classmates, as far as I know, to die in Iraq.
Mr. Scroeder, I am so sorry for you loss; and in this moment I have no words for politics or institutions. In this moment, I have only to say that Augy, one of 4000 dead young Americans, was one of us; nearly a decade and years of war removed from all the promise in the universe. Like so many other young Americans, Augy and I (and the rest of our graduating class, left our hometown with so much optimism to find ourselves and do something big in this life.
Yet as we reassemble to compare experiences and accomplishments, to meet the new spouses and children, to be doted upon by the community of parents that instilled in us so much hope and spirit for Right because they were Us in Vietnam, Augy and so many other fallen soldiers will not be there.
Death, I suppose, never makes sense. Still, I ask our parents and other survivors of war, how do we ever make peace with the loss of so much hope?

Sent by Alana Jones | 3:56 PM | 3-27-2008