YDR Insider

Part of the USA Today Network

The lottery no one wants to win

Several times a week, they arrive in my email.

They are death announcements from the Department of Defense – notifications of someone who has died in Afghanistan or Iraq, sometimes elsewhere.

I click on the unwanted news with trepidation. It’s like a lottery no one wants to win.

The message pops up. I scan for the hometown. It’s rarely a local serviceman or woman. It may be someone from California or Kentucky or Florida. At first I feel relief. Then guilty at that relief. Then sadness.

Each of those messages means a life lost, a grieving family, a stricken community.

When the victim is local, it’s our job to tell you what happened and to put a face on that person.

They’re more than a number. They were somebody’s son or daughter, friend, sibling, grandchild.

It’s a horrible time for the family, but we are grateful to them for taking time to share memories and photos so the community can better know who gave their life in service to this country.

As I write this, another DOD email has arrived.

My condolences to the residents of Round Rock, Texas.


View an interactive map of military deaths with York County connections here.