Isaac Cortes from the Bronx was shipped to Iraq three months ago. His grandmother said he enlisted in the army because he wanted a better life. A roadside bomb took his life last week.
Going halfway around the world to fight a war was Cortes’s best opportunity because there are no good jobs left anywhere in this country.
He had worked at a long line of seasonal trades since high school: an amusement park ride operator, a golf caddie and finally a security guard at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankee job was his favorite. The pay wasn’t great, but it was close to home and he really enjoyed the games. But the baseball season finished and it was off to Fort Benning for basic training and then Baghdad and then back to the Bronx in a box.
They buried him yesterday – the sixtieth New York City kid to die in Iraq – and no one outside the neighborhood seemed to notice.
And not enough people seem to care that they will keep sending kids home like this as long as dying is the best living we can offer our children.
Cortes deserved a shot at a better life. Everyone does.