All Utahns were wounded this week by some shots fired in the Persian Gulf.

The shots were those that felled one of this state's sons, Lance Cpl. Dion James Stephenson, 22, Bountiful. He was killed in action in some of the first major ground combat of the war.The deep sorrow felt by the Stephenson family is shared by other Utahns, particularly by the families and friends of the many reservists and National Guard members called to active duty from this state.

Also shared is the admirable valor and patriotism of Lance Cpl. Stephenson and his family.

Stephenson, a 1987 graduate of Woods Cross High School where he was a well-liked young man and a good student, had been in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years and was a proud member of an elite reconnaissance unit.

His death is a grim reminder that war is never cheap or easy and that its dearest costs must be counted in human terms, not just arid numbers.

Yet young Stephenson had no doubts about the cause in which he was engaged. In letters home, he had voiced support for his military leaders and emphasized the need to stop Saddam Hussein.

The young Utahn's father, Jim Stephenson, sent messages to President Bush, several Utah congressmen and top U.S. military commanders, declaring that his son did not die in vain and that "People who voted for this war do not need to feel guilty. They did the right thing."

Those words are a magnanimous gesture to American leaders who carry the enormous burden - and it is a very real and personal burden - of sending other people's children into harm's way.

In the sadness of this news, there also must be a somber recognition that much grim fighting still lies ahead and there almost certainly will be other casualties among Utahns at the front.

The Deseret News joins other Utahns in extending sympathy and love to the Stephenson family and in praying that the war may quickly accomplish its just ends so that the troops may be brought safely home.