Karina Sotelo Lau

She died after “Mission Accomplished” with 15 other soldiers when her CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by guerillas. Karina was 20 years old.

Hers was the name Anne sent me for The Mother’s Day Project and last night I muddled through the embroidery, stitching her name as neatly as I could. I chose complementary colors that have caught my eye recently, New Mexican landscape colors.

20 years old.

An article about Karina in the Modesto Bee reported she graduated 8th out of a class of 200 from Livingston High School, which is located in a community in California’s Central Valley. She was an accomplished musician and could play the sax, flute, clarinet, trumpet and other instruments. She apparently had a gorgeous voice and performed in school musicals. An army colleague remembered her sharing dreams of opening a dinner theater one day.

She spent two months at the University of Pacific where she had a music and academic scholarship, but enlisted because “she needed to do more.” Karina was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas when she received her Iraq deployment orders in 2003. A friend remembers her being terrified, but he assured her that “everything would be all right.”

Other friends recalled her beautiful smile, the fun they had commiserating about boys, her good heartedness.

There is this web site where friends, family and fellow soldiers post their thoughts about the war dead—fallenheroesmemorial.com. Karina’s loved ones still miss her deeply. Multiply their grief by the families and friends of the 3,674 other soldiers who have lost their lives serving this country and the countless Iraqi families whose hearts are broken, and the pain becomes unfathomable.

Until now, I’ve had mixed feelings about a U.S. withdrawal. I never supported this war, but felt that we were morally responsible for the mess we created. Everyday, though, more people die and the Middle East grows increasingly unstable. It’s hard not to blame U.S. foreign policy for the region’s volatility. The killing has got to stop.

20 years old.

How many more pretty girls who want husbands and babies and careers and full lives do we have to lose? How many more boys? How many more Iraqi moms, dads and babies?

Just 20 years old.

Karina

Private First Class Karina S. Lau

Jan. 2, 1983–Nov. 2, 2003

 

 

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Thanks, Leslie.

How many more?  The numbers so far are incomprehensible.  

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John

Leslie, you are brilliant.  Well said words.  We need to get out.  Thank you!

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