As I have written before, my family would make a trip to the Cemetery of the Pacific on Memorial Day. There was much talk of those who had fallen -- during World War II, Korea and later Vietnam.
We would walk through the headstones and we would read the inscriptions. In those days, it was not uncommon to see family members at the headstones.
One year, we came across Ernie Pyle's headstone. When I looked at my Mother, it was just in time to see her stop a tear. I asked her why the tear. She told me that Ernie Pyle had painted the pictures of World War II for her and others who were waiting at home for friends and family to return. Ernie Pyle was their source of information, their source of understanding. War journalists affect our lives whether or not we know their names.
On April 20, 2011, I finally understood her sadness when the deaths of photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were reported. These two men had painted the pictures of so many modern day conflicts for me. Chris and Tim were both 41 years old - Ernie was 45 --- all had their lives cut short sending the story of war home to us. All three were killed while covering war. All three were killed in April. All three gave the world insight into something most of us can not comprehend. These were remarkable men. We are better for having had them here -- a bright light has gone out at their passing.
But, there are more bright lights out there - more who will send back the stories and images of our world. We are fortunate to have lived and to continue to live in the world with them.