The other day I was perusing the never ending status updates on Facebook when I came across this one:
Another (booze and drug addled) celebrity dies and now the whole world is gonna talk about it, but quick question, who can name a single US Servicemen who died in the last week? We have had 14 KIA's since July 15th but they are not in the news I can clearly see where America's priorities are .... God Bless those that sacrifice so much for us.
Now, far be it for me to trust anything I read on a Social Media network, after all, they're not much different than the tabloids at the checkout stands. The ones screaming, "Elvis was abducted by aliens and now has squid-like love child."
With this in mind I did a little research of my own and found the statement to be pretty accurate. In the six days between July 12 and 17, 2011, the United States lost eight citizens in the ongoing 'War on Terror' in Afghanistan. This information was not found in a national newspaper, or even broadcast on local news stations. Instead, I discovered it, after considerable research, in a tiny newspaper serving the Silicon Valley.
These men lost their lives fighting under our flag, for the rights and freedoms of not only ourselves, but those in a country without the basic benefits we're afforded simply for being United States Citizens; yet the barely rated acknowledgement.
On July 23, 2011, admitted drug addict and alcoholic singer, Amy Winehouse died in her home under unknown and questionable circumstances. Unless you've been living under a rock, lack the ability to read, or have roommates and friends who have taken a vow of silence, you've heard of her death.
On July 26, 2011 among family, friends, and HUNDREDS of people who knew nothing about her other than she sang and had a penchant for illegal substances and erratic behavior, she was laid to rest.
Her death is still being talked about (Hell, this blog right here is spotlighting her death--go figure), and will continue to be talked about for days, weeks, months, and years to come. Every year on the 'anniversary' of her death, tribute will be paid her.
Will those eight men be remembered by anyone other than their close family and friends?
What makes a single celebrity's life so much more valuable than the lives of the men and women who are actually doing something more useful than entertaining us with their questionable talents and shocking public behavior?
Every day more and more American Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, lose their lives in the continued battle under the Red, White, and Blue... and every day, their sacrifices are ignored, forgotten, or overshadowed because some rich socialite made their personal, private demons, public grist for the gossip mill.
How many more American citizens need to die to over shadow one self indulgent entertainer? Two-thousand? A million?
One more American death is too many.
I for one will not be offering remembrance to those whose lives were taken by their own demons, and touted in the public eye as martyrs to their art-- though I feel for their families, and the friends who actually knew them.
I will hold each day, a special place in my heart for the memories of every man and woman whose loss is remembered only by those whose lives are now a little emptier, a little darker. In my world, they are the celebrities, the martyrs who died for a worthy cause. They deserve the moment of silence, the burning candle, and the tears shed.
Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth B. Elwell, 33, of Holland, Pa; Pfc. Tyler M. Springman, 19, of Hartland, Maine; Spc. Frank R. Gross, 25, of Oldsmar, Fla.; Sgt. Lex L. Lewis, 40, of Rapid City, S.D.; Staff Sgt. Wyatt A. Goldsmith, 28, of Colville, Wash.; Sgt. Jeremy R. Summers, 27, of Mount Olivet, Ky.; Seaman Aaron D. Ullom, 20, of Midland, Mich.; Lance Cpl. Robert S. Greniger, 21, of Greenfield, Minn.; and all other Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen who put your lives on the line each day, or selflessly gave your lives for the lives and freedom of those less fortunate-- I thank you. May your lives and memories never be tarnished.