Monday, December 19, 2011

The Unknown

Now that the War in Iraq is winding down, there's some renewed interest in those Americans still missing in Iraq.

By my own primitive accounting standards, there are 18 missing Americans - a number that includes those presumed deceased. A name - a person - remains on the list until their remains are found and identified.

The List includes 9 unknown names. That unknowingess is uncomfortable. There's something lonely about a missing person who is also unidentified. Somewhere out there, someone knows them.

An eccentric elderly man who lived in my neighborhood passed away a few months back. I just recently found out his body is still lying in a refrigerator at the morgue, waiting for family to come and claim him. Problem is, he was mentally ill. He was quiet, polite, orderly, well-spoken and totally out of touch with reality. He saw coded messages in donut displays about clandestine deliveries of Chinese missile.

It's a bit of a guess if he really has any family. Some bits and pieces of his life were true - he really was a lawyer who graduated from an Ivy League school - but a great cloud of mystery hangs over much of what he shared during a cup of coffee. But here's the thing - he knew people and he had friends. He still has friends and we're trying to figure out what to do about his body at the morgue so he doesn't end up in an unmarked grave.

It's in that same spirit, that I'd really like to find the names that belong to the Unknown missing, fitting together a broken world.

Americans Missing in Iraq - table of names last updated on August 13, 2011

No comments: