Like James Wolcott, whose brilliant analysis of the savaging of Cindy Sheehan is a must-read, I've had a death in the "family" of my Manhattan building -- in my case, in the family of our super, Ramon.
Ramon has been ill with cancer, this year: we've watched him grow skinny and lose his hair from chemo, worrying that we would lose him. He's seemed better lately, and we were a lttle shocked and scared when we saw crowds gathering in front of his entrance on Monday night. This is Washington Heights; it looked like half the neighborhood was gathered on our block, crossing themselves in front of makeshift shrine.
But it was no death watch, as we realized Tuesday. It was an actual death - of Ramon's son-in-law, Pfc. Jose Ruiz.
Perhaps you saw the full-face photo on Newsday's front page, and the headline: HE ONLY SAW HIS BABY ONCE. His wife, at tonight's memorial service, was clear about her husband's decency in his service.