Skip to comments.We Mourn Students, But Not Soldiers (Bill Press)
Posted on 04/27/2007 2:07:44 PM PDT by NotchJohnson
We Mourn Students, But Not Soldiers April 26, 2007
It never occurred to me there was any disconnect in President Bush's order that flags be flown at half-staff to honor the memory of 32 students and faculty gunned down at Virginia Tech. It was, I believed at the time, the fitting tribute of a nation, united in grief, over the slaughter of so many young and talented people.
I still believe President Bush did the right thing. But now I'm also troubled by the disconnect: Why are flags flown half-staff to mourn slain students, yet never flown half-staff to mourn slain soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan?
That burning question was first raised, not by me, but by Army Sgt. Jim Wilt of Combined Joint Task Force-82, stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Writing online, Wilt noted that, as at other military bases around the world, flags had been lowered at Bagram to commemorate the tragic deaths at Virginia Tech. Nonetheless, he added: I find it ironic that the flags were flown at half-staff for the young men and women who were killed at VT, yet it is never lowered for the death of a U.S. servicemember.
Recently, in fact, a fellow soldier stationed at Bagram had been killed by enemy forces, leaving Wilt to ponder: Is the life of Sgt. Alexander Van Aalten, a member of our very own task force, killed April 20 in Helmand province, not valued the same as these 32 students? Good question!
Or how about the nine young Americans killed by one suicide bomber just outside Baghdad, one week to the day after the Virginia Tech shootings? They also died violent and senseless deaths. Don't they deserve the same recognition? Shouldn't their photos and life stories also be told? And why aren't the flags lowered for them?
For one simple reason, some might say: We expect soldiers to be killed, but not students. Which begs the question: Did we really expect over 3,200 troops and counting to be killed in Iraq after President Bush announced Mission Accomplished?
The truth is, a Virginia Tech-like slaughter happens in Iraq almost every day. Yet there's one very practical reason why Wilt's suggestion that slain soldiers receive the same flag honors as slain students will probably never happen: Given the way things are going in Iraq and Afghanistan, flags would be flying at half-staff every day.
Of course! That's the point! What better reminder that we are bogged down in a bloody, seemingly endless war than to see the Stars and Stripes only halfway up the flagpole day after day after day? Otherwise, for most Americans, the war remains a distant operation, for which only our brave soldiers and their loved ones pay the price.
But drawing attention to the human cost of the war is the last thing President Bush wants. For the last four years, in fact, he and his cronies have done everything possible to conceal the number of war casualties. Until he got caught, Donald Rumsfeld used an autopen to sign condolence letters to the families of soldiers killed in action. Photographers are prohibited from shooting or publishing photos of flag-draped coffins returning to the States. And, to this date, Bush has not attended the funeral of even one soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
By law, only the president can order flags to be flown half-mast at federal buildings nationwide. Within each state, however, governors have the same authority. And several governors including Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and John Baldacci of Maine have already acted, issuing a decree that all flags be flown half-staff the day a soldier from their state is buried.
Deciding to lower the flag state-by-state is not as meaningful as a national tribute, but, for now, it's the least we can do show our soldiers and their families that the American people really do care.
And why not? In the words of Army Sgt. Jim Wilt: Isn't it time our flag saluted back when a person makes the ultimate sacrifice? Shouldn't the flag, which represents our society, tip its hat when someone dies to ensure it will fly another day?
I see Bill got the memo.
What about the Scumbag Code Pinkos who were filmed at the front gates of Walter Reid Hospital with Lying Posters saying they supported the troops, yet were recorded to say, “ The American Soldiers are the terrorists”
That is what they realy believe, they are seditious rats
I think Don Henley was right. It's all dirty laundry to them -- they'll use a corpse if it will get them what they want.
Your welcome Bill and may you get a clue because you are a huge ignoramus.
Your welcome Bill and may you get a clue because you are a huge ignoramus.
My first thought is that that is why we celebrate Memorial Day every year. To remember all of our fallen from all of the wars. I see Bill forgot to mention that we do have a day set aside. That would have been an “incovenient truth”. I see Veterans’ Day doing the same but for all service men and women who have served but not necessarily given the ultimate sacrifice.
So we do have a day set aside for our fallen. Let us all remember to treat it as more than just a day off from work with picnics and play during a long weekend.
Too many have forgotten the price paid. Too many just don’t care.
Flags are flown half-staff on Memorial Day till noon
I did not know that!
99% cannot name one of the heroes in Iraq.
Thank you Mr. Press and your pressies. You have collectively brought this about. By choice.
This is deep stuff and hard to understand. But the short explanation is that the soldiers volunteered to protect our country, knowing full well what that involved. The students at VT, on the other hand, were going to school to continue their education.
This has been discussed before. Conclusion:
It was wrong to fly the flag at half mast for the VA Tech students. It insulted our troops.
The only time to lower the flag is to pay tribute to someone who died while defending our country.
On Memorial Day, and at no other time, should the flag be lowered.
Being a soldier is an honorable yet dangerous profession and freedom doesn't come cheap.
The "muttinhead" who found irony in this doesn't realize at all how much our soldiers sacrifice everyday, for if we did this, our flag would be at half mast 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Our soldiers risk their lives to keep our flag at the top of the mast.
Never, never lower it, except for their sacrifice. On Memorial Day.
The left obviously wants the flag to be lowered for the entire length of any war.
In wartime you keep the flag high on purpose. In Revolutionary or Civil War battles, the flag carriers were taught to hold the flag high, even if they were wounded, and someone else would instantly pick up the flag if they were.
If the flag were at half staff all the time, it would be meaningless. If you have two tragedies at once, do you lower it to the ground?
Flying the American flag at half staff because of losses in battle appears as if we're surrendering to a victory by our enemies. Which is obviously what the Democrat/media complex wants.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 16, 2006
Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2006
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
Throughout our history, the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States have placed the security of our Nation before their own safety. America will be forever grateful for their service and sacrifice. On Memorial Day, we honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Defending the ideals of our Nation has required the service and sacrifice of those from every generation. From Valley Forge, across Europe and Asia, and in Afghanistan and Iraq, courageous Americans have given their lives so that others could live in freedom. These Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen took an oath to defend America, and they upheld that oath with bravery and decency. They have liberated the oppressed, spread freedom and peace, and set a standard of courage and compassion for our Nation. All who enjoy the blessings of liberty live in their debt.
This debt of gratitude extends also to the families who stood by our servicemen and women in times of war and times of peace. Each of the fallen has left behind loved ones who carry a burden of grief, and all Americans are inspired by the strength of these families.
At this important time in the history of freedom, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our liberty. These men and women carry on the legacy of our Nation’s fallen heroes and demonstrate that the United States Armed Forces remain the greatest force for freedom in human history.
Those who lost their lives in the defense of freedom helped protect our citizens and lay the foundation of peace for people everywhere. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation pays tribute to their personal courage, love of country, and dedication to duty.
In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day. I encourage the media to participate in these observances. I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.
GEORGE W. BUSH
# # #
I do not think the flag should have been at half-staff for the VT students. It isn’t that I don’t feel sadness for them...it just does not seem appropriate to me.
If a plane crashes with 150 people on board, we don’t put it at half-staff for them.
If five people were murdered, we don’t do it for them. And we shouldn’t.
It is all politics and Political correctness.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.