December 31st, 2009
11:10 AM ET

Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan, remembered on blog

(CNN) - A day before her death, journalist Michelle Lang posted a blog entry about a woman from Canada who, like herself, had voluntarily signed up to work alongside the soldiers in Afghanistan.

Lang, 34, died Wednesday along with four Canadian soldiers when a roadside bomb struck their armored vehicle in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. The soldiers' names were released Thursday: Sgt. George Miok, Sgt. Kirk Taylor, Cpl. Zachery McCormack and Pvt. Garrett William Chidley. Read more on the Canadian reaction

Watch's interview with Calgary Herald reporter Colette Derworiz as she remembers her friend and colleague

Lang's "combat barber" blog post for The Calgary Herald elicited dozens of entries expressing shock and sadness over her sudden death.

Read Lang's blog

"I remember being overseas on a military tour at the age of 35, one year older than you were," C from Ontario wrote. "Like you, back then I was unafraid to be in harm's way, and the adrenalin of working at such an exciting job and the camaraderie and intense job satisfaction compensated for having to leave my loved ones behind.

"You died doing what you loved and your death is not in vain, because of your writing, which kept us in touch with how you portrayed everyday life with our troops. I wish you everlasting peace and send my condolences to your family and friends."

She was remembered by her newspaper as a journalist who "never took the easy way out," and who yearned to leave the main military base in Kandahar and talk to the troops in combat.

She had been working with a provincial reconstruction team made up of soldiers and civilian social workers who were working to rebuild parts of Afghanistan, according to the Herald.

Two days before her death, she wrote an e-mail saying she hoped her assignment would "produce some interesting stories on the civilian-reconstruction side, as well as some military ones," the newspaper reported.

Lang, who was recently engaged to be married, is the first Canadian journalist killed while covering the war in Afghanistan. There are more than 2,800 Canadian troops supporting the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, one of the largest contingents. Read more about Wednesday's bombing

CNN's Atia Abawi, who recently returned to an assignment in Kandahar province, said the military convoy carrying Lang was traveling in an area outside Kandahar city that was considered relatively safe.

Abawi, who did not know Lang, said her death struck a chord.

"I can't imagine ... I've lived here for over a year, others [journalists] come in and out," Abawi said. "We've been lucky, and this poor woman died on her first assignment."

soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. pletcherkdp

    I like, i deem i last wishes as prove underwrite soon.

    May 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nuctguack

    good start

    March 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tony horton

    I think you have spent some time to provide this amazing post to us. I do not know how to thank you for providing to us.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mashal Faird--Canada

    i send my condolences to the soldiers fighting in afghanistan.
    @ Ovidiu and "general Panyk",
    I hope you guys are ashamed for what you've said.
    Quote: . Afghanistan should have been erased from the map in 2001 along with everyone living there.
    you know that there are thousands of civilians in that country??
    thousands of innocent people there getting killed?
    how DARE you say something so racist and rude beyond belief.
    think twice before you speak you dirty mouthed no-good scum bag.

    January 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dr. Zack Poyan

    My family and I are with you during this difficult time. We, Afghans, never forget your family’s contribution to our country’s peace and stability. We will always remember you and your wonderful daughter who put her life in the line for Afghan women and children. She is our HERO and our children will remember her as their leader in years to come.

    Dr. Zack Poyan
    Atlanta, Georgia

    January 4, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eleanor Croll

    To the Lang Family

    My deepest heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your beloved Michelle.
    She went to with her heart and soul. We will remember!

    To the family of the four Canadian soldiers. You all did your jobs
    bravely and we are proud of you.

    January 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roger Awouma Bilounga

    All my sympathies and condolences to families members of Ms Lang and the 4 Canadian soldiers.

    January 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    A month ago before the attack upon the CIA occurred, President Karzi publicly singled out the CIA solely as the ones that carried out a midnight raid which murdered a large number of Afghanistan children and young civilians. The midnight raid by the CIA resulted in a regional outrage and extreme hatred by the Afghanistan people against the American and allied troops stationed in Afghanistan, even thou those troops had nothing to do with that raid.

    My Open Question is this:

    How many American and Allied Soldiers have been killed by IED's planted by Afghani people that were previously neutral before that raid occurred?

    January 3, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. haley

    Im very sorry to hear about Ms. Lang and the soldiers. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who passed away.

    January 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. IT IS WAR...........PEOPLE.

    What are canadians doing in Afghanistan? They are not Tourists are they? Probably they were in some kind of mission where it could have resulted in the death of Afghan civilians and before they could do that, the Afghans killed them. ITS called WAR. No one cares about Afghan civilians being killed every other day. So now those who are killing them are killed. Seems like David is catching up to Goliath aka Gods Law.

    Secondly i dont beleive journalists should be tagged with soldiers since then they choosingly and knowingly put themselves in harms way since in battlefield the soldiers are fair game and they should not be hiding behind journalists.

    My heart goes to the innocent victims of this non ending war. Everyone else is getting what they choose for themselves and hence they deserve.

    January 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. w.Deepani Gilroy Sri lanka

    They were not living ,God was living in them. So they sacrificed their lives far away from home to make a better tomorrow for us. Government or a president cant win a war alone without public support. It is time for every US citizen and all the peace lovers to get together and work on it.At the same time one must understand this a spiritual warfare.Some say he is Messiah and others say Jesus. But after all we are the Children of one God. He created all of us.God was there before all the other. Animals do not kill their own kind. But Man does.Why ....?Because evil spirit is in the killer.Cant win this spiritual war fare only through bullets but with regular correct prayers and ballets.These brave journalists and solders did not die alone.But they started their everlasting life again in Heaven!!May the spirit of God comfort their families till they meet again !!!

    January 3, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Faisal

    It always hurts to hear about civilian deaths whether they are Canadians, Americans, Afghanis or Pakistanis. All the more reason to build up public support against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. This war is threatening to destabilize the whole region and then the whole world in the future. Maybe some sane minds can get together in western countries to put a stop to this. As it is, each coming year is worse then the previous as far as civilian deaths and displacements are concerned. One only has to think if the world is a safer place since the Iraq and Afghan war?

    January 3, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. jose

    I've been reading some of the comments posted here by numerous heartfelt people. I also want to express my condolence and sympathy to the families of soldiers and reporters fallen in their duties in Afhganistan. I'm proud of their bravery.
    Many voices here exposed coincide on the waistiness of resourses (especially lives) in this so called anti-terror war, and insist on pulling out our troops. I also wish that a solution could be that easy, but what would happen if we (the western world) don't face the exigencies of the reality. How big the tumor would grow up left by itself, with no action to stop it. These is a war that involves a group of radicals whose interpretation of their faith is an only one-way; the extermination of occident. Wouldn't we regret then if we draw out our soldiers from there and in some years this problem grows out more uncontrollable?

    January 3, 2010 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. lstro

    My sincere condolences to the family of the canadian soldiers and Ms Lang. Unfortunately this war is necessary and must continue to rid this world of evil. God Bless all our men and women in harms way.

    January 3, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. James

    Rhey went there as contract killers for money. No sympathy here.

    January 2, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Chris from Ontairio

    Re: Post 64.. Marco you are a fool, Canadians are there rebuilding the schools,hospitals,dams,roads etc that the afghans or at least some of them destroyed all on there own.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  17. George Abraham

    My deepest sympathies to the friends and families of all those who have fallen including Afgan civilianians and soldiers. This is a no win war and so the allies must change their tactics or else bring the troops home as the current strategy is clearly not working.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  18. gary

    just how much money has our country spent on this holy war?? its all about how much money our can government can waste just trying to stop these thugs all over the world. you cant deal with these people on a racial level. if you dont eliminate them from the planet your only wasting tax payer money but the lives of every man woman and child of this country. WIPE THEM OFF THE MAP !! you dont let terrorists out of prison, very stupid!!! 1 bullet fixes alot of small problems such as this.

    how many employee's does cnn employ that have military service under there belts??? wondering minds

    January 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  19. John

    While I feel bad for the loss of any family I have grown very sick and tired about hearing of the "tragic" deaths of reporters/journalist. These people go to dangerous places by choice, to make money, get the story, and grown their own prestige.

    Journalists are NOT the story. The troops and the people who actually need to be in these dangerous positions are.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Doug

    K. Ward (#36): we are not a 'peacekeeping nation'. Many countries such as Pakistan put us to shame when it comes to peacekeeping duties.

    We're a member of NATO and are required by treaty to defend any NATO country that's been attacked. That is why we're in Afghanistan.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Chris Alexander

    Sorry, to hear that Canada has lost another 5 Canadians to the War in Afghanistan. One of them a civilian, who was brave enough to report on the war in that country. If Canada and the other Nato countries are intent on harming the Taliban they must cut off their economic supply of funds, by eliminating the drug trade that flows through that country, this means destroying the poppy fields, hash, and other illicit drugs that flow out of that country.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  22. JOHN M

    Heartfelt sympathy to all the families, it's tragic. For civilians to lose their lives in these conflicts seems way above and beyond to me. Let's get these people out of there ASAP. Very, very sad.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. andy

    and how many Afghan children have been killed meabwhile ?

    January 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  24. alice schow bowman

    Do you run a headline like this for all soldiers who die in service? I think not. Yes, this is tragedy, but be equally cognizant of the soldiers who die as well, and not just the journalists. This is coming from a Democrat who is opposed to this war. The soldiers should be the focus; not the voluntary journalists.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Erudite

    She will be one day news. Then on to something else.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Erudite

    She should have known. The war is worthless.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Vic

    RIP to all those who served (whether it be w/ a gun, as support, or civilian reporter etc) but passed away from home.

    From a proud Canuck.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Joe Larue

    How many more innocent people have to die? Can't intelligent agencies use their spy satellites to monitor routes taken by NATO, UN? I mean it takes some time before these people can dig and plant a bomb. I'm pretty sure spy satellites have high definition cameras installed that can clearly record this dastardly acts! In the future I hope they choose to utilized these spy sats in order to save innocent lives!

    January 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Keith Trenton

    I want to thank our Canadian friends for their help and assistance in standing by America in the fight against terror. Too often we take Canada and their support for granted. I see very few other NATO countries doing as much as the Canadians, working in one of the worst areas of Afghanistan, and doing it to the highest standard possible and paying the highest price – life. Shame on the Germans, and other European countries for their "talk" but little action in Afghanistan. Thank you Canada and sorry for your losses. You know that if your country is ever in trouble the United States will be there for you as you have been for us. Nobody likes war but lets not forget why we're in Afghanistan. The Taliban allowed terrorists to train and attack the world from their soil. This cannot ever happen again.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Mary E. Ewan

    134 Canadian heros have died in this brutal, dirty, hot, sandy war far away from loved ones. I salute each one and am grateful for their bravery whatever role they were given,
    What CNN or other news outlets or indeed, the USA says, doesn't change the value of their sacrifices. They will be forever young.
    Not so, the thousands of injured brave men and women who have come home with damaged bodies and minds, changed forever by their experience.
    What is Canada doing to make sure NOT ONE of them falls through the cracks, is misdiagnosed, ignored, dies young at home in Canada in desperation.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Bill

    I am an American. I have been to Canada and my memories of that experience are warm and heartfelt. I will admit that I am not a frequent traveler to your country, solely due to my financial status. Likewise, I have NEVER been to Mexico, but I am VERY aware of the turmoil going on there and many of the reasons for it. It is troubling to me that someone from your country would criticize CNN, and America, for "burying" the deaths of your citizenry in this conflicted war going on in Afghanistan. I AM aware of Canadian losses in this war and I do not consider those losses any differently than I do those from this country. I hate this war and decry the inhumanity of humanity that allows us to send our children off to war to solve the inabilities of our senior citizens to resolve their differences. “We” are in this war together whether it be right or wrong. Let us not start a war over the relative values of your children versus ours.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  32. SK from Canada

    More heartbreak. My heart goes out to MIchelle Lang's family as well as to those of the other 4 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives. I add to my thoughts and prayers each and every one of those who have lost their precious lives in these past years. They will not be forgotten.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Ivone Dias Ferreira

    I'm portuguese and I was TV journalist during eighteen years. Please send my condolences to Ms. Langs family.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Mr Hatton

    There are not enough people in the Armed Forces, not enough of the neccesary skillsets and no continuity without civilians. You personal opinion is noted but fortunately our military leaders are reponsible enough to acknowledge those shortcomings. As to money...evn our soldiers get a good boost in combat which is well deserved. Still they join knowing what they may have to do and where they may have to go. Civilians, on the other hand, have free will to do whatever they wish. Unless the critical skillsets are adequately compensated, you have turnover wich is bad in any war situation. The military deals with that in a different way...stop loss. There is no real way to deal with it with civilians other than adequate compensation. You would be surprised how little some are paid in a combat theatre. The vast maority of them, myself included, were career military and are simply contribuiting with the skills we were trained for and have needed experience in. As to the journalist..thank God they are tell a story...even if it is a self serving perspective, it is still a story ou wouldnt hear otherwise.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Karen Zhou from Canada

    My heart goes out to Michelle's family and the loss to Calgary Herald. The year 2009 was the deadliest year for journalists and according to Reporters without Borders, 77 died in 2009. Their deaths continue to remind us of our multiple confrontations with evil around the world which are far from over and the bravery of these young journalists to seek the truth. At the dawn of this new year, Canada is in deep mourning for our fallen soldiers and Michelle Lang. Rest in peace. Thank you Michelle and our Afghanistan troops.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Troy

    Such a sad story.. I coulden't imaigine.......


    January 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Keith

    May God bless you all. I hope that you died fulfilling all of your dreams. Your lives ended too early. The rest of us left behind need to live a full life, keep the perspective, and honor those people both soldiers and civilians who decide to "go for it" and honor their belief's and live their dreams. Let us have the courage like these people and make our lives something more than ourselves. My condolences to the families of these wonderful people.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  38. mike

    god bless the aafghan civilians killed by coalition forces!

    January 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  39. zapper45701

    May I offer up more condolences to those who have offered up their lives on the altar of freedom. My son (US military) was in Afghanistan last year, and he had nothing but good words for the coalition troops from other nations. May this military action end swiftly and all of our force and personnel come safely home.

    January 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
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