AP Photo/U.S. Army
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Army Maj. Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, of Colorado Springs. Olmsted died Jan. 3 in a rebel attack near Sadiyah, Iraq, the military said.
AP Photo/U.S. Army
Major Andrew Olmsted blogged about his death, long before it happened.
The 37-year-old from Colorado wrote about his experience in Iraq for the Rocky Mountain News. He created a "final post" and told a friend to post it if anything happened. On Jan. 3, Olmsted was killed by small arms fire while confronting insurgents. Shortly after, the entry went up.
His online commentary on his death has become a tool to help his family and friends cope with their loss.
"I've read it twice now," says Olmsted's father, Andrew. "It made my wife angry the first time she read it because she didn't want him to have been thinking about the possibility of his death, of course. But when she read it the second time, like most of us, she was incredibly impressed."
There's plenty of Olmsted's characteristic humor in the post. In the second paragraph, he asks friends and family not to cry, but he adds, "If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions."
Politics were a big part of Olmsted's life. His strong libertarian views were part of what led him to blog. In his final post, however, he specifically asks that no one use his death for political purposes.
"He wants people to come from reasoned positions and not do a lot of screaming," his father explains. "Certainly not to use his death as a political weapon, that would be obscene."
Near the end of his final blog entry, Olmsted offers a tribute to his wife, Amanda. He wrote that she made life something to enjoy rather than merely survive. And then he apologized for the burden his death is causing her.
"I will see you again, in the place where no shadows fall," he wrote to her, quoting from Babylon 5.