If you haven't already, meet Major Andrew Olmsted, who has blogged from the front lines of the Iraq war since last May for the Rocky Mountain News. Olmsted, who had been based here in Colorado, began blogging after his unit was sent to Iraq with the mission of helping train the Iraqi Army.
Last Thursday, a sniper killed Olmsted as he was trying to talk three suspected insurgents into surrendering. The following day, his friend, Hillary Bok, a professor at John Hopkins University, posted his final entry as he'd requested, one written specifically for the occasion of his demise.
Olmsted quotes Plato, the TV series, "Babylon 5" and the military spoof, "Team America." He's funny ("I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact."), humble ("I was at least smart enough to pay attention to the people with real brains and even occasionally learn something from them.") and defiant (" ... if you think I wasted my life, I'll tell you you're wrong.")
He talks about how much he enjoyed blogging, his life in the Army and - hardest of all - says goodbye to his wife, Amanda. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by his loving, open-hearted style while facing his own death.
Maj. Olmsted also makes a special request, that his death not be used for politicking for one side or the other. Therefore, I'll skip my opinions and let this very courageous dude do all the talking in his "Final Post."