I read in the Kansas City Star today that a local soldier died in Afghanistan this past Wednesday:
BY RICK PLUM LEE
The Wichita Eagle
A soldier from Liberty, Mo., died this week in Afghanistan after drowning while attempting to cross a body of water during combat operations, the defense department announced Friday.
Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, 33, drowned Wednesday in Kandahar. He served with the 200th Military Police Command, U.S. Army Reserve, in Belton, Mo.Rhea was on his second tour in Afghanistan. He had previously served a tour in Iraq and at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
He is survived by a wife, Leah, and three daughters.
He grew up in the small western Kansas town of Oakley.
Now, what should happen, what hopefully will happen, is that someone down at our local newspaper will get inspired and realize this is a story they should cover. Up to this point, for that matter, all they did was take a story off the AP wire, from the Wichita Eagle Beacon, and repaste.
This is a story right in our own back yard coming, as it does, out of Kansas and now Missouri, nearby Liberty, for one thing.
Second, we're right here, in May, virtually right on top of Memorial Day. The timing is right for that reason, too.
Third, I don't believe they've done any local stories on any soldiers from Missouri or Kansas in these wars for quite some time, if they ever did one.
Fourth, look at all this soldier has been through and done. He was from Liberty, he was out of the Army Reserve in Belton, he had been in Iraq and at Guantanamo and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. If anyone's life might tell what we've been doing out across the world for the past decade, it looks as if this soldier's story would.
Finally, the fact that he leaves a wife and three daughters deserves this story be told, if they, the family, would and will allow.
I hope they would and I hope the Star does it.
I don't think enough of us here in America know what our soldiers have done and are doing for our country. This might just be the perfect time and place to tell one of those stories.