To the editor: A true and courageous example of a "monuments man," Syrian archaeologist Khaled Asaad, in his 80s, lost his life defending his beloved Palmyra. No doubt he might have considered that a worthy cause, however horrific his demise.
The entire community of archaeologists, art historians and scholars surely joins me in mourning this hero of heritage in Syria. Asaad dedicated his life to preserving, curating and studying a spectacular city going back millenniums. With scant resources, he did a magnificent job.
Now the site, controlled by Islamic State, has no one to care for it. Our common heritage slips away largely unnoticed, misunderstood, underappreciated and at the savage hands of those who know not what they are doing. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
Such is the Middle East, birthplace to many civilizations, ours included.
Lycette Irving, Los Angeles