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They won't even tell you who it is.

It might have been a kid from Texas or it might have been a kid from Virginia. They know, but they won't tell you. Whichever one it was, he was the one unlucky enough to be the 1000th American to die in Iraq.

Sovereign Immunity
Racial Discrimination
Fran Scarfone
District Swinging
Hanchette: Mt. Views
Staba: Citycide
Bradberry: Menagerie

The kid from Texas was named Tomas Garces. He was 18 years old and a member of the National Guard. His home base was Ft. Bliss, which is an installation out in the west Texas desert that's probably not too dissimilar from where he got knocked off. He'd been in Iraq for all of 14 days. Before he shipped out, he had dinner with his high school wrestling coach. Tomas had been a standout wrestler, his local paper reported. God bless him.

The kid from Virginia, you've gotta decipher. Because two kids from Virginia were killed that day. Like Texas, Virginia has a fine military history, and we'll present them both.

There was 1st Lt. Timothy E. Price. He was 26. Regular Army. You can look his picture up on the Internet and you'll see a nice young fella with a big toothy grin his folks must've loved. Young Lt. Price was joined in death that day by fellow Virginian, Spc. Clarence Adams III. Clarence was 28, and left behind a wife and children.

More than 7,000 of our brave men and women have been maimed. A good percentage of those have lost a leg, an arm or two legs or arms, or have been blinded. These are young people, the best America has to offer.

If you want to vote for George Bush, go ahead. And far be it from us to speak on behalf of Garces, Price or Adams. But there are a lot of Americans getting shot to pieces in Iraq, fighting on behalf of a cabal of cowards who lied our country into the war. The same guys who dodged the draft in Vietnam now capriciously send our sons and daughters into harm's way.

There's a word for guys like that, and it's not a word that's fit to be printed in a family newspaper.

As for Garces, Price and Adams, there's a word for guys like that, too. It dates back to the ancient Greeks. The word is "hero" and it connotes the bravery of the individual, and not the perhaps misguided cause for which he died.

Soldiers from Texas and Virginia know that all too well.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Sept. 14 2004