A story in the Rocky Mountain News tells the story of a casualty assistance calls officer, the officer who is sent to notify the family when they have lost a loved one.
This read, all twelve pages of it, made me cry. It made me glad that there is someone out there who cares doing this job. I wish all of them who have this job cared like that.
The article mentions that in the case of a casualty in Iraq the commanding officer shuts down outgoing communications for four hours so that the family may be notified respectfully.
But they can’t shut everything down. In August every family member of the 3/25 heard that there were high casualties, long before the casualty assistance calls officer could even find out the information for them. Because the media told them about it.
I have two brushes with this, in a way.
In college one of my friends and I were watching the news. A man had been killed by a robber as his car waited at a railroad crossing. Of course the media didn’t say his name, pending notification, but they showed his car. To his 18 year old daughter his car was a big painted sign. She called her mother before the police arrived. Notification matters.
One of my friends got a call December 25 a few years ago. It was not a casualty assistance calls officer. I don’t know if he made it to the parents’ home before the phone calls, but her fiance’s friends called her before any official word came down. He had died in a traffic accident. Notification matters.
God, bless those who will see these guys on their front steps. Comfort them and hold them. Give them peace. And for the casualty assistance officers, Lord, give them wisdom.