December 30, 2009

Last week I was in Afghanistan visiting the troops over Christmas. I traveled with Gen. Walt Natynczyk and a few others. One of the people there with us was a young reporter from Canwest on her first trip to Afghanistan. She was subbing for a couple of weeks for another reporter who regularly covers the war. Her name was Michelle Lang. When the rest of us left of Saturday she stayed behind to continue her reporting.

Today was an awful day in Afghanistan. Five Canadians and eight Americans died in IED attacks and suicide bombings. One of them was Michelle Lang.

I don’t know what to say except that she was a sweet, kind, optimistic young woman who literally always had a smile on her face – even in Afghanistan. If it is scant consolation to her family and friends she loved what she was doing. And she did it well. When she finished interviewing me we were both laughing.

It is a tragedy beyond words. It breaks my heart. My condolences go out to her family and to the families of all those who died today. While it is always terrible when someone dies like this; it is so much worse when you know them. When you care about them. This is a reminder to me that everyone who perishes over there is a person — not a statistic. Every one has mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers; children; friends.
I am so sorry.

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