I’m remembering a friend of mine who died in the barracks bombing in Beirut a long long time ago. We were close friends in Marine Corps boot camp. He was maybe 19 or 20 when he died, I’m not sure.

I was back at Iowa State because I was in the reserves and he was active duty.

Both of us signed up for the military for reasons that were intensely personal and had nothing to do with being heroes or supporting the policies of the United States overseas.

When I see politicians and pundits trying to leverage the lives and deaths of the young men we were at the time, I get so angry.

He did not join the Marine Corps and die out of a sense of patriotism. He joined because he was dirt poor and felt he had no other options. He didn’t expect his life would end two years after he joined, that he would bleed out with a belly full of metal.

So yeah, you know what, I’m going to remember him today. But I’m not going to remember him out of a sense of jingoism or patriotism. I’m going to remember him because he should be alive today. Because his death was a senseless result of needless overseas adventures on the part of the US.

I’m going to wish people would stop making him and people like him symbols in a cause he never stood for.

--

James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
James Finn

James Finn

James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.