Andrew Olmsted: Frater, Ave atque Vale

BLOGGER ANDREW OLMSTED has died in Iraq. (Via Blackfive and Obsidian Wings). He left a last post for publication in this event; he also expressly indicated that his death should not be politicised in any way, so keep that in mind regarding your comments whether here or at Obsidian Wings. Here’s his blog, always worth reading. [update: blog down at the moment; Obsidian Wings has excerpts]

update 2: “Why Go to Iraq?” (Andrew Olmsted in the Rocky Mountain News)

About Andrew Olmsted:

Fort Carson-based Army Major Andrew Olmsted was blogging from the war in Iraq, where his mission was to teach members of the Iraqi Army how to defend their country and provide security for their people. Major Olmsted was a veteran blogger and he was determined to make a difference in Iraq. “The sooner the Iraqi government doesn’t need U.S. support to provide security for its people, the sooner we will probably be asked to leave.”

update 3: Tim Blair farewells Major Olmsted.


10 Responses to “Andrew Olmsted: Frater, Ave atque Vale

  1. spot_the_dog Says:

    “Frater, Ave atque Vale” is a Latin phrase meaning “hail, brother, farewell.” It appears at the end of a poem by Catullus:

    Through many countries and over many seas
    I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
    to show this final honour to the dead,
    and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
    since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
    Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
    now at least take these last offerings, blessed
    by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
    Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
    and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.

  2. tizona Says:

    The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.
    Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    Rest in peace, Andrew.

  3. Angus Dei Says:

    Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. – Vergil: the Aeneid

    (These things bring tears, and our mortality cuts to the heart).

    Godspeed, Major Olmstead.

  4. Ash Says:

    It is always a terrible shame to lose such a brave man. Vale Andrew.

  5. Angus Dei Says:

    His site has finally come back up.

    From his final post:

    “I wasn’t the greatest husband. I could have done so much more, a realization that, as it so often does, comes too late to matter. But I cherished every day I was married to Amanda. When everything else in my life seemed dark, she was always there to light the darkness. It is difficult to imagine my life being worth living without her having been in it. I hope and pray that she goes on without me and enjoys her life as much as she deserves. I can think of no one more deserving of happiness than her.”

    This was a great, great man. What a tragic loss. But then, aren’t they all.

    There are no words. Not in Latin or any other language.

  6. spot_the_dog Says:

    From his “Last Post”

    So if you’re up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

    Could someone point me to a clip of that song? I’m ready to have a Coke and a laugh.

  7. spot_the_dog Says:

    Thanks for that, Pogs, I’ll have a look. I really should go rent the movie this weekend; I might be the last person in the world who hasn’t seen Team America!

  8. Ash Says:

    You’ll absolutely love it Spot.

    Ameriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiica, Ameriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiica, AMERICA! FCUK YEAH

  9. spot_the_dog Says:

    Andy’s “Last Post” is really something. Christ, if that doesn’t move you, nothing will. Reminds me of when I first heard Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” back in September from CMU, which he did after they told him they couldn’t do anything more for his cancer. That’s really worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet.

  10. kaez Says:

    A short life.
    A worthwhile life.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

    Mary Frye

    Vale Andrew.

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