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Second Place
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News "The Messengers"

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Since the start of the Iraq War, Marines based at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado have had the solemn duty to help the families of 18 of their fallen comrades shoulder the loss and honor their sacrifice. A knock at the door begins a ritual steeped in tradition more than two centuries old; a tradition based on the same tenet: 'Never leave a Marine behind.' Major Steve Beck and another Marine approach the family home of 2nd Lt. James Cathey, preparing to escort the Catheys to the airport to receive their son's body. Five days earlier, the shadows of Casualty Assistance Call Officers followed the same path, carrying the news no military family ever wants to hear.


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