Reporter remembers Michelle Lang

Reporter Bruce Ward has written a thoughtful salute to Michelle Lang,
who was killed while reporting on the war in Afghanistan on Dec. 30th,
Michelle Lang
Michelle Lang

Ward writes:

“The last thing I did before leaving the Citizen‘s employ several weeks ago was far more wrenching than cleaning out my desk. On my final day in the newsroom, I found an e-mail sent by Michelle Lang, the Calgary Herald reporter who was killed in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, 2009. I read it again for the last time, then pressed the delete button.

“I sat there overwhelmed for a moment. I felt I was letting go of something more than the job that had shaped and defined my life for so many years. Michelle’s e-mail was short and to the point. She asked me to call her in Calgary because she had some questions about living conditions at Kandahar Airfield. I knew she was leaving soon to be embedded with Canadian troops there, as I had been a few months earlier. I called her right away, so I can’t say why I saved the e-mail for so many months. It wasn’t because I had a bad feeling at the time about her going to Afghanistan, a foreboding that she would not survive the deployment.”

Ward remembers meeting Lang at a Canwest training session for reporters headed to Afghanistan. He describes the memorial the army erected in her honour in front of the journalists’ tent at Kandahar Airfield. He wonders “How many more lives will be lost before Canada winds down this pointless mission in 2011?”