Flags have been at half-staff here in the Midcoast just as they have been all over the nation since the Aug. 26 attack at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members.

It is easy to roll out clichés about defending freedom and providing security for the United States in times like these, but it is difficult to capture in words the magnitude of human sacrifice that the deaths of these young people truly represent.

Looking at this group, we are struck by their youth, by the hope they represented for their families, and by the awesome potential they each had to affect the lives of others around them.

These were among the best America had to offer. They are part of the best-trained military in the world, each a skilled professional. They worked with honor and courage, and they died helping people who were desperately trying to escape a tyrannical regime.

This was among the deadliest days in this very long war. We believe these brave young people deserve some acknowledgement and so we will list their names and a bit of information about them here.

May they long be remembered for the bright light they offered in the lives of their families and communities.

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.

Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, Calif.

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif.

Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Neb.

Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Ind.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyo.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif.

Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio.

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn.

This list includes personnel from Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Ft. Bragg, N.C.