“He told us … `I don’t want you to remember me in tears,”‘ his mother, Gail Johnson-Roth, told about 250 mourners at his funeral at Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood. “`I want you to remember me with laughter.”‘
-from the Daily Breeze, two years ago
Yesterday afternoon I went to the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood.
Not long after arriving, as I was walking through the cemetery, a particular gravesite stood out because it was embraced by flowers and balloons. I guessed it was a recent soldier who had died. Walking over to it, I recognized the name of who I stumbled upon: Daniel Patrick Cagle. I had put together a post when he was buried two years ago, moved by the above photo. It had caught my attention on the front page of a local paper (Torrance, actually; but still part of the greater LA area), The Daily Breeze, as I was waiting in a diner.
Here are a few photos I took yesterday:
I do hope and pray that Cagle’s family and friends can remember him with laughter amidst the tears.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.
From the story cited in Wordsmith’s original post:
I’m not making any sort of political point, but just offering a speculative opinion.
I think that Iraq War soldiers and veterans suffer from a form of stress which is unique in the annals of warfare.
Up until Iraq, most soldiers were killed in fights with other soldiers, from the hand to hand combat of Homer and The Iliad to Davy Crockett and the Alamo to World War II sailors fighting off dive bombers and submarines, to World War I flying aces, to going up against the Viet Cong in the Central Highlands, and even to the streets of Somalia.
There have always been random bombs and land mines, but, in terms of percentage of total casualties, nothing like Iraq, where most fatalities and maimings are a result of completely random encounters (a sort of “reverse lottery”) with explosive devices, as opposed to firefights with the enemy, where a soldier at least has a chance to fight his way out.
The very idea that the most likely way to meet one’s fate is with a random encounter with an IED landmine has just got to be unbelievably stressful — perhaps even more at a subconscious level than at a conscious level.
I think that post-traumatic stress disorder may be, in some ways, more severe for Iraq War vets than for vets of previous wars.
– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA
I just wrote out a comment, but it didn’t appear. Can someone please check spam? Thanks. – Larry W
You can’t suffer PTSD if you don’t live to suffer it. So many soldiers of wars past simply didn’t return.
No thanks are enough for the family that gave thier son and brother.
Not a day goes by that I have some memory that sparks a smile with a bitter year. Never forgotten!
You, your family, and Daniel remain in my thoughts and prayers, Mrs. Johnson-Roth. Thank you so much for commenting and reminding me of this post and how those who knew and loved Daniel Cagle will always remember and love him.
His memory is kept alive.
Today I visited Sgt Steve Butcher in Arlington. Steve was killed in same incident as Daniel…I left one of Dans memorial tags and my companions got to to hear some Daniel stories that made them laugh. ;). Never forgotten!
i met patrick at fort stuart. My son Brock went over there with him. I seen them off to Iraq. When Brock made it back,we went to go see Gail. To see Patricks grave together.What a strong women she is.It was a honor to met Patrick.They all had guts to go there.God bless all who was involed in that shit