In his contribution to the forthcoming November edition of Vanity Fair magazine, Christopher Hitchens writes on the brief life and exemplary death of a young man. As part of Hitchens' examination of the surviving family's response, and his own reaction to his ephemeral contribution to Mark Daily's act of ordinary valor, he poses a philosophical question:
"He could have had any career path he liked ... Why are we robbed of his contribution?"
Here is your answer, Mr. Hitchens.
He did; and we aren't.
Lieutenant Daily's considered decision to lead troops into combat against our country's self-declared enemies must be regarded as the path he most desired to follow. Mark Daily did not lack for options, as Mr. Hitchens delicately observes, and chose the robust, direct action that still seems somehow unnatural to our Christopher, even now. The fact that Lt. Daily's decisions lead to his dying in the act of defeating that enemy is not unusual, for all it's abruptness. Living and ultimately dying to preserve our civilisation - our friends and family writ large, if you will - is simply the ordinary course of events, and the ultimate contribution, any of us can contrive. Mark Daily can't be said to have gotten off easily, for all that he got there early. Of a certainty though, his contribution is all around us, as hopefully will be our own after we are gone.
It is by their deeds that we know them;
will they know us, come the day?