The war in Afghanistan doesn’t make the headlines much anymore, so when the news of a North Adams soldier’s death there came on Friday the impact was that much more horrific. The Berkshires received a terrible reminder that the longest war in U.S. history continues to claim casualties and devastate families.
Michael R. DeMarsico was killed at the age of 20 by an improvised explosive device. In Afghanistan, as was the case in Iraq, soldiers don’t commonly meet the enemy in a clearly defined battlefield. IEDs have killed and crippled thousands of American soldiers who never saw their foe or had a chance to defend themselves.
Mr. DeMarsico was serving with the 11th Bravo Infantry Division of the U.S. Army and those who knew him recalled that the 2010 Drury graduate always wanted to serve his country. That is the case for so many who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is a measure of how long the Afghanistan war has gone on that the first of what are now two deaths of Berk shire soldiers there came on December 5, 2001, when Daniel J. Peti thory Jr. of Che shire was killed by friendly fire.
Ironically, the front page of Friday’s Boston Globe featured a story headlined "The Longest War Barely Echoes at Home" about the war’s absence from the election campaign and from public discourse. A war begun just after the attacks of September 11, 2001 has lost its rationale and dropped off the radar at home even though American men and women are still at risk there. The death of Mich ael DeMarsico is echoing loudly and painfully here in the Berkshires.