COMMENTARY | Last night, according to the Huffington Post, seven marines lost their lives in a helicopter crash during their military training in Arizona. The horrific incident happened when two helicopters collided near Yuma, Ariz., as the men performed training exercises in the remote area.
The names of the men have not yet been released, but Lt. Maureen Dooley with Miramar Air Base in California said that they were members of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing were based at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.
Soon, family members and friends of the heroic men will be notified of their loss, and will have to deal with the extreme difficulties involved in such a tragedy and try to cope with the empty space that is left in their hearts and homes. Will these men be remembered with a spectacular memorial that is watched throughout the nation and the world? It isn’t likely.
Although the death of the recently passed singer Whitney Houston was sad and a huge calamity in the music industry, and especially in her own daughter’s life, Houston was not a hero by any stretch of the imagination. But the men and women who give their lives for their country are. Yet they are likely to only be remembered by those who are close enough to feel the pain of such a loss.
In Kalamazoo, Mich., according to CBS News, the father of a man who lost his life while serving in Iraq noticed the disparity in the way that celebrities are revered in comparison to fallen soldiers. Understandably, the man was angered over the flags flown at half-staff for the death of Houston. John Burri believes the lowering of flags should be reserved for those who have given their lives for their country. In protest, Burri decided to burn the New Jersey state flag on his outdoor grill.
The angered and passionate man told WINS reporter Glenn Schuck, “Maybe it’s a little drastic, I know that’s a little extreme. But I’m sorry, this is how much it hurts. This is how much of a slap in the face it is to all that have served and given their life.
It is a slap in the face to the men and women who are paid so little and risk so much. In contrast celebrities are paid millions and upon their passing are given a lot more attention than the average military hero.
Consider also, that in Wisconsin, leaders recently decided to declare Dec. 12 Aaron Rodgers Day. As if the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback needed even further recognition on top of his multi-million dollar salary. I don’t have anything against Rodgers, and in fact, think he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks in the league, but surely there are more important things to honor.
While I’m not sure what the solution is, I think our priorities are more than a little skewed here. The media pays attention to what the public reads, and with the most commonly searched items tending to be about celebrities, and not about fallen heroes, it only follows that more attention is given to Hollywood than what really matters.