The end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan is bringing calm to the military mortuary that had the solemn task of receiving the dead. Virtually all of the 2,312 American troops killed in the war were brought in flag-covered transfer cases to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Air Force Chaplain David Sparks has been there from the start, ministering to the families left behind and the workers charged with autopsying, embalming and preparing the remains for burial or cremation. He calls the base “holy ground” for that reason and says, after tending to spouses, parents and children of the dead, his “heart has been torn out so many times” he can hardly count.
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