"I write this in part, admittedly, because I would like to think that there's at least a little something out there to remember me by. Granted, this site will eventually vanish, being ephemeral in a very real sense of the word, but at least for a time it can serve as a tiny record of my contributions to the world."
Major Andrew Olmsted, United States Army, died Jan. 3 following an ambush in Iraq. The career soldier blogged at the Rocky Mountain News. News story here. His blog still reads that Major Olmsted's "mission is to teach members of the Iraqi Army how to defend their country and provide security for their people. Major Olmsted is a veteran blogger and he is determined to make a difference in Iraq."
Major Olmsted left a long, powerful letter to be made public in the event of his death. A fellow blogger has it here:
If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them. While the blogosphere has its share of partisans, there are some awfully smart people making excellent arguments out there as well, and I know I have learned quite a bit since I began blogging ...
Blogging put me in touch with an inordinate number of smart people, an exhilarating if humbling experience. When I was young, I was smart, but the older I got, the more I realized just how dumb I was in comparison to truly smart people. But, to my credit, I think, I was at least smart enough to pay attention to the people with real brains and even occasionally learn something from them. It has been joy and a pleasure having the opportunity to do this.
That's nowhere near the best quote, but it is included here because he references blogging. The guy was a natural writer and blogger. A beautiful tone and rhythm to his words, and a knack for solid thinking. Read the whole thing. Olmsted also asks that his death not be politicized. Done.