I heard of Maj. Walter "David" Gray's death in Afghanistan not from any media source but from my wife, who went to high school with him and was friends with him on Facebook.
She was very hurt by his death, and could only talk about how nice of a guy he was, sentiments that have been echoed by many who knew him in the days since. He was apparently a man who always put others first.
My wife and her classmates gathered last weekend to raise money for the family Gray left behind -- or more accurately, was taken from. If your heart doesn't break when you look at the photo that appeared in the Daily Post of Gray with his wife and children, check yourself to make sure you have a heart.
I was trying to explain the significance of his death to my 11-year-old daughter over the weekend. I told her that it was important to remember such people who put themselves in harm's way for us and sometimes pay the ultimate price. I explained about things like the flags and crosses on the side of the road on Memorial Day and that we should never take those sacrifices for granted. I was more than a little proud to find out she already understood, when she interupted me to tell me how thankful she was for the people who fight for us.
I'm so thankful for them, too. But I'm also sick of seeing them come home in pieces or in body bags.
When will this end? How long will we continue to "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here"? How many more nice guys have to get snatched from their families by maniacs who think their suicide mission is a one-way ticket to paradise?
I've been beating on this horse for years, but I'll say it again -- it's up to the Muslims. They have to cut the cancer out of their religion. I know some are trying, but they need a boatload of help. It's the only way to stop this madness. Our military just can't keep on hunting people -- and getting killed for it -- forever.
I explained this to my daughter as well. I told her that it's because of crazy people. I told her about how someone wearing an explosive vest blew themselves up and took Maj. Gray with them, that his children had to live the rest of their lives without their daddy, all because this lunatic thought that it was somehow a good thing, a holy thing to die while killing other people who didn't believe the same way. I told her they mistakenly think they get to go to heaven.
She shook her head. "No, they go to the other place."
Even my little girl gets it. It's high time more leaders of Islam learned the same lesson -- and spread the word. Otherwise that cancer will continue to spread.
And so will the death.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.