Two North Dakota soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday. The soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde, 41, of Devils Lake, and Spc. Tyler Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck, were doing a routine clearance operation when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle. Spc. Ian Placek, 23, also of Bismarck, was injured in the explosion that killed his comrades.
In the grief of the families and friends of these men lies the true story of what has been lost. As loss, while tragic in-and-of-itself, is most evident in the debris it leaves in its wake in those who will live with the loss. The desperate longing for a different outcome or even just a little more time – something, anything that will ease the pain of the loss. But in loss there is so little to hang on to – so few places to find relief.
Today I pray for the families and friends of the men who were lost. I pray that in some small way the gratitude of a grateful nation translates to comfort. I pray that their faith will hold them steady over the difficult weeks, months, and years to come. I pray that they will know each time they look at a flag that the cost of freedom is understood by Americans. I pray that they will hold close a collection of memories that will help remind them of the beauty in the days they had with the loved one they lost.
I know the soldiers who were lost are at peace. I know their souls have transcended the horrible realities of their deaths. I know that they knew they were loved and valued by family and friends. I don’t have to pray that they will be okay, I know that they will sit at the right hand of God. I know that must be where God puts the soldiers who are lost to us.
It is a sad day in North Dakota as we collectively mourn the loss of our own and as we pray for those who will bear this horrible loss. Rest in peace Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde and Spc. Tyler Orgaard. Your service will not be forgotten.
Day one thousand two hundred and forty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da