For eight U.S. families, this Memorial Day weekend will open with the knock on the door they have feared since their sons or daughters deployed.
Eight American troops died Thursday when a pair of roadside bombs exploded while they were on foot patrol in southern Afghanistan.
The loss of these yet-to-be identified military personnel adds to the toll of our two-front war on terrorism
As of Thursday, 4,457 Americans have died Iraq, including Pfc. Ramon Mora Jr., 19, of Ontario, Calif, who died May 22 in Baghdad from injuries suffered when a makeshift bomb exploded.
Another 1,576 have died in Afghanistan.
In terms of lives sacrificed, these troubling numbers alone do not present a full accounting.
Another 43,547 have been wounded in action, with catastrophic injuries - such as those requiring multiple amputations - tripling in 2010, the worst year to date in Afghanistan, where we still fight our county's longest war.
Let us count, too, the battle deaths not reported as such of the war wounded and war weary who came home with injuries not visible to family and friends until the pain of their service prompted them to join the comrades who failed to make it back stateside.
Last year, for the second year running, more soldiers and recent veterans died by their own hand than in combat, adding another 468 war-related deaths from trauma no less deadly than an enemy bullet.
And still, these numbers are lower than they appear.
According to Congress.org, statistics do not include non-active duty Marine or Air Force reservists, nor those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan but were no longer enlisted, or enrolled in the VA Health System.
Then add in the thousands upon thousands more who have left health and dreams behind on foreign soil.
Yet no papers print extra editions. No banner headlines mark their passing or their sacrifice with momentous type.
News copy, what there is of it, typically provides some basics and moves on to poll results and the war's unpopularity, to Congressional votes and foreign policy.
The ink and the airtime are reserved for such things as the death of a madman, hiding behind the walls of his luxury estate, while our quiet heroes who voluntarily enlist, kiss family goodbye and take up arms so that we may be free get short shrift.
Except, perhaps - perhaps - on Memorial Day, that lone holiday when our nation has an opportunity to remember and mark their service.
For those who agree that such sacrifice deserves remembrance, there is ample opportunity to pay homage not only to these fallen but to their many, many comrades in arms who have served, have suffered, and have died, through the generations and the years.
In Cape Coral, the largest of the services will be at Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery.
The annual Memorial Day Remembrance Service will be held Monday, May 30, at 10 a.m. in the Veterans Honor Garden at the cemetery, 1630 S.W. Pine Island Road
Guest speakers will include Cape Councilmember Col. Bill Deile and V.F.W. Post 8463 past Commander Bob Rieser, a Vietnam vet who will address "The Greatest Generation," World War II veterans.
Other services and Memorial Day activities may be found in today's Breeze or on-line at cape-coral-daily-breeze.com under local news.
We thank those who serve. We thank the families of the fallen. Such sacrifices should not, will not, go unmarked.
- Breeze editorial