A Cautious Man
August 13, 2005
 
Young Lives Over Before They Got Started
From my local paper -
For years, the war seemed so far away. Since March 2003, when American forces invaded Iraq, the communities of South Orange and Maplewood have managed to survive without having to make the sacrifices that others around the country have been making.

Although they may have felt the pain of war very close to their heart, or were deeply affected by every headline or television segment on the war, still, members of the community remained somewhat sheltered.

But things changed last week. Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder, a former South Orange resident and a 2000 graduate of Columbia High School, was one of the 14 Marines killed in Iraq on Aug. 2, when a powerful roadside bomb destroyed their amphibious assault vehicle near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Schroeder's parents, Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer, moved to Ohio from South Orange after Schroeder's graduation from Columbia.

He attended Ohio State University before joining the Marines in 2002 in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

"It was hard to go home and tell my son that the little boy he used to play with isn't here anymore," said Cindy Espersen, family friend of the Schroeders and CHS guidance counselor. Schroeder and her son were childhood friends.

Any bright, loving child growing up in a community the size of South Orange and Maplewood will touch the lives of many people in it. Schroeder seemed to be special, however, touching so many and so deeply.

The impact of his life, although painfully short, was evidenced at a memorial service in his honor at Morrow Memorial Church in Maplewood on Aug. 4.

The chapel overflowed with people wishing to recall memories and pray for Schroeder. They said he was funny, loving, creative and devoted.
And, from the Associated Press -
CRAWFORD, Texas - The mother of a fallen U.S. soldier who is holding a roadside peace vigil near President Bush's ranch shares the same grief as relatives mourning the deaths of Ohio Marines, yet their views about the war differ.

"I'm angry. I want the troops home," Cindy Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., who staged a protest that she vowed on Sunday to continue until she can personally ask Bush: "Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?"

Jim Boskovitch, father of slain Cpl. Jeffery Boskovitch, 25, of North Royalton, Ohio, is supporting the U.S. military action in Iraq.

"I firmly believe, and I would echo my son's feeling on this, it is very, very important for our country to remain steadfast and complete the mission that they set out to accomplish," Boskovitch told ABC on Sunday.

Boskovitch is among several families mourning Ohio Marines who suffered heavy losses in three attacks starting July 28, when two were killed in a gun battle. On Monday, five were killed in an ambush. Nine were killed Wednesday when an armored vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

Rosemary Palmer, the mother of Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder, 23, another Ohio Marine killed in Iraq, sided more with Sheehan. If the United States continues its current course in Iraq, the death toll of U.S. troops, now at more than 1,820, will only grow, she told ABC.

"We either have to have more people there to do the job and better equipment, or we have to leave — one or the other," she said.
I don't know if Corporal Schroeder's mom is now considered "fair game" by Bill O'Reilly, Michelle Malkin, or anybody else who thinks that it's socially acceptable to call Cindy Sheehan nasty names. In any event, this is what his dad asked a friend to pass along, on the local Maplewood and South Orange internet message board -
I want people to know how much they are appreciated by us. In the last 48 hours we have learned more about Augie than we knew. He now seems larger than life to us (though it isn't easy to forget the dirty socks stuffed under the couch).

Also, we want them to know that the question is not why, but what next.

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