For too many Americans, the War in Afghanistan often is just an abstraction, something we don’t think about too much, a conflict far away and much too long — the longest war in American history — a random headline that we ignore on the way to clicking on links about overpaid quarterbacks and vacuous celebrities.
For the extended Trinity family last week, the War in Afghanistan took a terrible, tragic turn, claiming the life of a Trinity son, Major General Harold J. Greene. On Tuesday, August 5, Major Greene was killed during an “insider attack” on a group of allied officers inspecting troops and training results at an Afghan military academy. He is the highest ranking officer killed in the Afghan-Iraq conflicts. He was in Afghanistan as deputy commanding general of the Combined Security Transition Command — a key figure in trying to pave the way for the end of the U.S. presence in that nation and full empowerment of the Afghan military. He gave his life as part of the endless quest to bring peace and some measure of security to that troubled region.
The late Eva Shediak Greene, Class of 1950, was General Greene’s mother. A History major from Fall River, Massachusetts, she was active in many campus organizations including the International Relations Club. Her Trinilogue entry indicates that she loved World Literature and even spoke Arabic. Upon graduation she earned master’s degrees at Boston College and SUNY Albany, and embarked on a career as a teacher, textbook editor and school librarian. She married Harold Greene, moved to the Schenectady area, and raised three sons, of whom General Greene was the oldest.
I called Mr. Greene, himself an Army veteran, to extend Trinity’s deep condolences, and he seemed glad to know that the Trinity family is with him and his children and grandchildren at this difficult time for the Greene family. The Albany Times Union has a particularly nice story with an interview of Mr. Greene about his son.
Trinity’s flag will fly at half staff on Thursday, the day that General Greene will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary. We send our deepest sympathies to his father and family, and remember his mother Eva and the son whose heroism in serving his nation surely made her so proud. We send our thanks and admiration to the Greene family for their patriotism and heroism in fostering the commitment across generations to serve our country in the military.
Let us also pause in this moment to remember the thousands of military personnel who have died or suffered terrible wounds in these wars, and the countless other people also killed and wounded by war. Let us renew our prayers for peace.
If you would like to send a message of condolence to the Greene family, please drop a note off at my office or you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment in the box below.