I sometimes sit in front of my computer wondering what kind of sports dragon I should slay this week. What problems need to be solved and what kind of wonderful solutions do I have to share with the public? What pearls of wisdom will I transfer from mind to keyboard to newsprint? Should I rant and rave or should I quietly inform? Should it be sort of funny or oozing with sarcasm? And then while I think and think, the evening news comes on the television.

Another serviceman from Maine, the second South Portland High graduate in a month, had been killed in Iraq. A couple days later, it’s a Lake Region High graduate who lost his life in the War on Terror. That kind of news stops you in your tracks. And if it doesn’t, it should.

More Mainers continue to be added to the ever-growing list of casualties of war. Just a few months ago, it was former Shapleigh resident Benjamin Keating who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

These men had walked among us at one time. They may have been our neighbors or just casual acquaintances; they may have been longtime friends or former classmates.

You might have seen one of them playing at sport back in high school or you might have pulled up alongside one of these men at a red light. These men were members of our community we’ll no longer bump into at the Mall or wait in line with at the bank. And we’re all a little poorer because of that.

Things most of us take for granted, they’ll never get a chance to experience. We all live in the moment. Today is the most important day of our lives and we too often have a list of priorities that doesn’t include those special times shared with family and friends.

Another spring sports season is right around the corner and some of those special times are upon us. Participants of all ages will take to the nearby playing fields and youth leagues of all kinds will fill our recreational facilities. Parents will proudly watch their kids compete against other youngsters; moms and dads will play catch with their sons and daughters; and young friends will learn about teamwork for the first time.

These annual rites of spring are indeed special and we should appreciate them more than we do. The recent tragedies we all grimly watched on TV or read about in the paper should, if nothing else, put our own daily lives into perspective.

Most of us didn’t know and never met any of these fallen heroes, but if their deaths get us to reflect – even for a few brief seconds – about what is truly meaningful in our lives, then we’ll honor them in a small but important way.

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