K.I.A. or killed in action is a military jargon for dying in the line of duty. For many who have dedicated their lives for a cause, this means dying with honor.
If you have seen Forrest Gump, there was a scene there where Lieutenant Dan was badly injured in battle. Forrest Gump was saving Lieutenant Dan but Lt. Dan wanted to die on the spot. To quote:
Lt. Dan: Now, you listen to me. We all have a destiny. Nothing just happens, it's all part of a plan. I should have died out there with my men! But now, I'm nothing but a goddamned cripple! A legless freak. Look! Look! Look at me! Do you see that? Do you know what it's like not to be able to use your legs?
Forrest: Well... Yes, sir, I do.
Lt. Dan: Did you hear what I said? You cheated me. I had a destiny. I was supposed to die in the field! With honor! That was my destiny! And you cheated me out of it! You understand what I'm saying, Gump? This wasn't supposed to happen. Not to me. I had a destiny. I was Lieutenant Dan Tyler.
Forrest: Yo-You're still Lieutenant Dan.This scene asks us a very important question: whether or not we have the right to die.
The right to die has in its core the concept of dying with dignity. But how can someone die with dignity? This might seem an oxymoron, but it is true, there seems to be ways to die "better."
Spartans of ancient Greece take great pride in dying in battle. Iraqi suicide bombers use their bodies in the cause of freedom. Mothers sacrifice their lives for their unborn children. These are regarded as very honorable ways of dying.
Much less dignity is afforded by children who die out of hunger in Africa, those who are killed mistakenly with no reason at all, and those who are tortured before dying.
The trajectory of life is that one day we will all die, but when that time comes, I want to die with honor and dignity.
Let it be known that I want to end my life well.
As my favorite philosopher Gracian writes:
"If you enter the house of Fortune through the door of pleasure, you will leave through the door of sorrow, and vice versa. So be careful of the way you end things, and devote more attention to a successful exit than to a highly applauded entrance. Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive -- for that is common -- but being missed when you leave. Rare are those who are still wanted. Fortune seldom accompanies someone to the door. She is a courteous to those who are coming as she is rude to those who are going."
Anyway, as to my dreams of death, it seems that for many cultures, it is unlikely to forecast an actual event, rather, death dreams seem to represent the ending of one phase of life so that a new one can begin.
If this were true, I am excited. I like new beginnings and surprises.