From the Albany Times Union:
First published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday was the day, as Colleen Murphy so aptly put it, to honor the memory of her daughter, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Amy Seyboth Tirador of Colonie.
Even a cursory review of this young woman's life reveals achievement, commitment and purpose that are impressive by any standards. To think she did it all by just 29 -- accomplished Army interrogator; recipient of a Bronze Star, for saving another soldier's life; trained Arabic linguist -- is to marvel and, of course, to wonder about all the feats and challenges that might have awaited her.
Sadly, what Ms. Murphy called the day things begin, not end, brought mourning, accolades and then burial with military honors at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery. Staff Sgt. Tirador has the distinction of being the first woman from the Capital Region to die in the Iraq war. She was on her third wartime deployment.
What might begin today, then, is the dispatch of answers to all the questions that surround the death of Staff Sgt. Tirador. She leaves this earth with honor and demonstrated valor, certainly, yet the occasion lacks the finality that wartime deaths generally bring. The sense of loss is magnified by the confusion that persists, at least for now, over the nature of what the Army calls a noncombat death.
Ms. Murphy calls it an execution. Staff Sgt. Tirador apparently died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. War, an ugly business under the most innocent of circumstances, hits home in an especially haunting way.
The loyal service of a dedicated soldier is a two-way commitment, of course. To truly respect the memory of Staff Sgt. Tirador and to even begin to ease the pain of her family -- notably her husband, Mickey Tirador, serving his third tour in the Iraq war -- her friends and contemporaries require an accounting of how she died, and how this particular loss of live might have been avoided.
"I thank you for allowing us to honor you." Ms. Murphy said as she eulogized her daughter at the Reach Out Fellowship church in Colonie. That noble task might well be an unending one. But it also might be easier and more complete with all the unpleasant mysteries resolved.
Staff Sgt. Tirador joins at least seven other soldiers with ties to the Capital Region to die in Iraq. The first was U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Robbins, originally from Delmar, in 2004. He, too, was buried at Saratoga National Cemetery, on what would have been his 28th birthday. Five years later, the war plays out in an eerily similar way.
To say farewell to Staff Sgt. Tirador is to recall those who were killed in Iraq before her, regardless of the circumstances. It's also to think of who might be next and who, finally, will be the last.