In introducing the pictures, under the headline "Faces of the Fallen," the Army Times said: "More than 500 service members died in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in 2003, a group that represents the full, rich face of American diversity.
The pictures are small and run in neat columns. The names, ranks and date and place of death are in small type underneath the small pictures. The understatement is devastating.
The paper's senior managing editor, Robert Hodierne, was saying yesterday, "When I looked at the pages, I felt the same as I did when I walked along the Wall."
And the dead are brought back here almost furtively. There are no ceremonies or pictures of caskets at Dover, Del., air base, where the dead are brought. "You don't want to upset the families," George Bush said. That the people might be slightly disturbed already by the death doesn't seem to register.
The wounded are flown into Washington at night. There are 5,000 of them and for a long time you never heard of soldiers who have no arms and legs. Then the singer Cher went into Walter Reed Hospital and came out and gave a report that was so compelling she should walk away with a Pulitzer Prize.
Finally, a couple of television stations and a newspaper here and there began to cover these things. There are miles to go.
For now, Cher, on one day, and the Army Times for the whole year, have served the nation as it should be served.
(aded a link to the transcript of the Cher phone call, via Atrios). Also don't miss the NYT article on the same topic.