Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed this question and the growing divide between the civilian and military communities. Never was it more obvious than at Tuesday evening's final editing session for the campus newspaper.
I was working on my column, a compilation of news stories. Lately, I've been including the ranks, names and ages of our fallen military. That came under fire Tuesday evening, when, for want of space, I was asked why I print that, because "it seems like filler." I was then told that "We aren't the Military Times," and then spent the next fifteen minutes arguing that the ages bring our military to a more personal level -- I can look at those names and realize that the specialist killed by an IED last week was my age, that the staff sergeant who gave his life yesterday could have been my best friend. For those who have never had any sort of contact with the military community, this is one way in which we can all relate.
Also, since my college campus has little to do with the military, it seems hardly enough to even devote a few inches of column space to the deceased. Can we not give them that much? They have fought and died for my right and privilege to contribute to the mass media -- can we not show them perhaps the only form of respect we are able?
Thirdly, posting a list of the war dead appeases two groups: anti-war and pro-war. Those against the war are able to look at the list and realize that people are dying, even though combat operations have ended. Those for the war can be proud of the fact that a small, private liberal arts college is devoting a portion of its newspaper to researching and printing the names of our fallen military personnel.