Requiem for a Marine

When I got the news, I didn’t quite know what to do.

At first, I sent out e-mails to friends with a link to the story about the former reporter who was killed in Afghanistan while serving with the Marines, a family friend told the Associated Press on Thursday.

I added simply, “I knew him.”

Bill Cahir was the Washington, D.C., correspondent for my old paper, the Express-Times in Easton, Pa.

When he was in his 30s, he decided to join the Marine Corps as a Reservist, apparently in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

I got to know him personally after I started working for Stars and Stripes.

We talked about his deployment to Anbar province, where he said the locals were not intimidated when Marines told them if they didn’t cooperate they’d face a Fallujah-style assault.

I also talked to him whenever I had to write a story about the Marine Corps that required the expertise only a Marine has.

He told me it was an honor to wear the Marine blue dress uniform, and if I remember correctly, how someone from his wedding gave him a sword as a present to make the uniform complete.

Cahir left journalism to run for Congress in Pennsylvania in 2008.

I looked up his campaign up on the Internet one day and found that some moron was making fun of his name, comparing “Cahir” to “Queer.”

It didn’t matter that he had done two tours in Iraq by then. Politics in Pennsylvania, as elsewhere in America these days, is ruled by the loud and the obnoxious.

I knew he had lost the election, but I didn’t know until I read the story about his death that he felt his career in journalism was over and he wanted to see what the Corps had to offer.

That’s how he ended up in Afghanistan, and that’s how he died.

I know every servicemember’s death is tragic and none is more important than the next.

But I felt obliged to take some time to tell you about this particular Marine, who left behind a world or relative safety to see if he could make it as one of the few.

I am proud to have known him.

Photo from the Express-Times.