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I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which is among the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos,  provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The IGTNT  title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.  
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Honoring and Remembering:

Sgt Ethan C. Hardin
Pfc Ira B. Laningham IV

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FLY  
~ Celine Dion

Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

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Ethan Hardin
Spc. Ethan C. Hardin, 25, of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Ethan C Hardin died Jan. 7 of wounds suffered at Logar Province, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.

According to principal Kenny Francins, Ethan Hardin was a graduate of Fayetteville Christian Schools, affiliated with the Mission Boulevard Baptist Church in Fayetteville and had attended schools there all his life.

Hardin joined the U.S. Army in January 2006 and after completing training was stationed at Fort Irwin, California and in Germany before arriving to Fort Polk in March 2010. Hardin previously deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2008 through October 2009.

Senator Mark Pryor released the following concerning Spc. Hardin's death:

Today I join all Arkansans in extending my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of U.S. Army Specialist Ethan C. Hardin, who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. Specialist Hardin was deployed in Logar Province, Afghanistan, and was dedicated to fighting terrorism and keeping our nation safe. Specialist Hardin's patriotism and courage make him a true American hero.

My thoughts and prayers are with Specialist Hardin's loved ones during this difficult time. Specialist Hardin had the greatest love for his country, and his country will always remember his sacrifice and service.

Governor Beebe has ordered state flags to fly at half-staff through Wednesday in honor of Spec. Ethan C. Hardin.

Hardin's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, ,Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

The Patriot Guard Riders have Spc Hardin on their Mission Watch List.

Hardin is survived by his mother and father.

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Ira Laningham
Pfc. Ira B. Laningham, IV, 22, of Zapata, Texas

Ira "Benjamin" Laningham died Jan. 7 of wounds suffered at Logar Province, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.

A 2006 graduate of Zapata High School, Benjamin Laningham had intended to enter the military, but his mother persuaded him to attend college first. After spending two years at Texas A&M International University studying music, Laningham's heart returned to his original choice and he joined the Army in 2009.

Benjamin's mother, Norma Cantu said that throughout his high school years, Benjamin used his love of music and his skills on the trumpet to play taps at military funerals.  He considered the soldiers fallen heroes and wanted to honor them.  Principal Jose Flores said  families of Zapata veterans would call the school to see if anyone could play taps at funerals and while he was in high school, that person was always Laningham.

"He took a lot of pride in going and playing taps for the veterans," Flores said. "I’m sure we can find someone to play taps for him."

Laningham's married Stephanie Armendariz, who also serves in the military, in October of last year a week shy of deployment so they could be deployed together. Cantú said the two planned another ceremony in Walt Disney World after returning from deployment next October. Instead, Laningham's wife will accompany his remains home to Zapata.

"When I went to go see him off for his deployment, he said, ‘If anything happens to me, I don't want you to cry because I'm doing what I want to do. I'm doing something that I love,'" said Cantú through tears.

Zapata County sheriff, Sigifredo Gonzalez said Pfc. Ira Benjamin Laningham IV worked for the county as a jailer from June 2008 until June 2009 when he resigned in order to join the Army.

Laningham's family lives in Zapata, but Sheriff Gonzalez said that the 22-year-old soldier would be buried in Mission next to his friends and comrades in the military.

Laningham’s brother Pfc. Joseph Cantu is also in the army, stationed in Oklahoma.

Laningham's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

The Patriot Guard Riders has Pfc Ira B. Laningham on their mission watch list.

Laningham is survived by his wife, mother and stepfather.

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About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels,  monkeybiz, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, racheltracks, and me, JaxDem. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.

Fallen service members whose names have been released by the US Department of Defense will usually be diarized two days after the official announcement on the DoD website. This allows the IGTNT team to cover each person more fully, but still in a timely manner.

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POW/MIA: Afghanistan & Iraq

Two U.S. soldiers are currently listed as captured or Duty Status -- Whereabouts Unknown as of December 1, 2009.

Spc. Ahmed K. Altaie 41
and
Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl 23

Never forgotten - please keep good thoughts and prayers for these two men.

On December 8th new photos were published of Pfc Bowe R. Bergdahl in captivity.  The article and images can be seen  here.

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Helping Our Troops

There would be no finer way to honor the fallen than to contribute to programs that assist our active duty military.  Here are a few suggestions:
Evan Ashcraft Foundation - This foundation was established to assist soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to adjust to civilian life.  In particular this foundation's emphasis is on PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
Fisher House - Provides a "home away from home" for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitilization for an illness, disease or injury.
Netroots For The Troops -  raises money for the assembly, mailing and delivery of care packages to American military in war zones, and to provide assistance to military families in the United States.
Veterans Green Jobs - Our recently returned veterans need jobs and VGJ is now hiring for positions and filling training sessions. VGJ corps retrains veterans as leaders in natural resource conservation, green construction, and energy efficient upgrades of homes in rural areas.
Welcome Back Veterans -  created to inspire Americans to give back to our returning veterans and their families and assist in particular with PTSD.
Wounded Warrior Project -  To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

Originally posted to JaxDem on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 05:20 PM PST.

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