Friday, January 04, 2008

Insights on Blogging From a Soldier Blogging in Iraq Who Was Killed in Action

In my perusal of some of my usual reads, I came across a link to this story ( about a U. S. soldier (Andrew Olmsted, pictured at left) stationed in Iraq who apparently was killed within the last day or so. What is unique is that he had forwarded a piece to be posted by a blogger friend only in the event of his death. It is a very moving and uncanny read. For those who have any interest, I recommend reading the entire post and some of the associated links. My thoughts are certainly with Major Olmsted's wife and family. Among the many things that struck me are (1) that Andrew Olmsted sounds like someone with whom I would have liked to have exchanged thoughts and ideas, and (2) I could very much identify with his his thoughts and experiences with blogging. The blogosphere is a unique place and allows all of us to connect with so many with whom we might otherwise have never had any contact. I know that I am very thankful for the friends I have gained via this blog. Here are two brief quotes from Andrew Olmsted's posthumous post:
Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. 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. I flatter myself I may have made a good argument or two as well; if I didn't, please don't tell me. It has been a great five-plus years.

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.

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