Sunday, May 21, 2006

Good stuff!

Have you ever seen an email describing great heroism or personal commitment on the part of one of our troops, and note a link to Snopes on the bottom? One that comes to mind involves Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh of Rochester, N.Y., who received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in Iraq.

Snopes link

Why the link to Snopes? Because it's an email, and we want someone to verify its authenticity. We have all received an inspiring email that we passed on to everyone in our address book, only to have someone show us a link on Snopes disputing the claim.

What I want to know is; why do we have to hear about our military heroes through blogs and emails and not the front page of the New York Times? Or CNN? And is it really so hard to believe they still exist?

Our heroes lose the banner headlines to the International Red Cross calling for the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and the vehicle-born explosive that killed 14 and wounded 26 in Baghdad. What about Sgt. Witkowski who threw himself on a grenade and saved 3 other Soldiers?

Sgt. Witowski link

During a tour of the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, my husband noted that there was only one Soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for the Global War on Terror, and that went posthumously to Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, credited with protecting the lives of scores of lightly armed American soldiers.

SFC Smith link

Only one? This lack combined with popular headlines might lead a person to suspect that our military is producing more inhumane jailers than actual heroes.

The truth is that if the American Press has ever been unbiased, it seems to have lost its ability to even pretend to care about fair reporting. Although it can't report the deeds of courage and sacrifice, it does manage to report when our military becomes desperate enough to pay the local papers in Iraq to report what they have done right. Of course, that seems to be wrong as well.

These are times when national pride is called "jingoism" and the flying American flag might be looked upon as "provocative", because of those who wish to subdue the sole superpower or pretend that the elected official that sits in the Oval Office isn't really the leader of the free world. Antiamericanism seems to be spreading like wildfire and the American press is the primary accelerant, and America's heroes are lost in the smoke.

Those of us who live in or near military towns actually see some of the good things our troops do on the front pages of our newspapers. Although I still suspect the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer of holding views that do not support OIF, Ft. Benning's troops, though they come from all over the country, are proudly held up as hometown heroes. A fallen Soldier is a life with a story, not a statistic added to the toll of the War on Terror.

Is this too much to ask of our national news carriers? Can an American service man or woman not be treated with the respect they deserve? Are we so afraid of reporting anything besides the ugliness of war that we must also forget to honor the warrior?

War can be just, but war is never glorious, and those who serve will be the first to tell you so. There is no doubt that it brings out both the best and the worst of humanity. No one expects the press to stop reporting the worst, but to be fair enough to also report the best. If the American press must be biased against America, so be it, but don't overlook America's heroes in the process.

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