Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Honoring the Fallen

On last weekend's episode of Army Wives one of the characters died in combat in Afghanistan. It turned out to be a very emotional episode and included several different tributes to the fallen soldier - including a tribute from his platoon still in Afghanistan.

At the end of the episode the one thing I was surprised about is that they didn't use some events from real life in the episode. I'm specifically referring to a certain church from a certain state that feels called to protest at funerals of our service members. I am so very glad that the writers/producers of Army Wives decided not to give the church more legitimacy (if that's the right word) and/or publicity by featuring something similar in the show.

A few weeks ago, an Airman (A1C Zachary Cuddleback) from this area was shot outside the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. The certain church I mentioned decided they would come out to IL to protest at his funeral. Instead of them making the news and being in the forefront, hundreds of people from around the area lined the streets and blocked the protesters. The Wing Commander from Ramstein AB wrote an article  about what he saw when he escorted A1C Cuddleback's body home for the funeral. Driving around town the next few days, one could still see several signs honoring A1C Cuddleback and his family. I wish we had heard about it beforehand, as I would have been honored to have participated. 

My only question is, and I hate for it to sound like an unpatriotic criticism, was A1C Cuddleback the first person in 10 years of war to die from this are? If not, were the other people honored in the same way? I for one have not heard of anything like what was done for the Cuddleback family. I think it was amazing and beautiful that the community honored a fallen Airman in that fashion...I just hope we haven't gotten so immune to the war and its toll on our service members that others are allowed to just slip by unrecognized. 

Do shows like Army Wives help us remember or do they add to the steady stream of reports and/or images that help to create "caring fatigue" bringing us to a point where we're just too tired to care anymore...?


  1. Stef,

    Once again, I had a really long comment to your post, but then Blogger dumped it and said it could not be posted at the current time. I'm really not a big fan of Blogger these days.

    Anyway, the part I really wanted to share with you is this article from Chris Jones, who writes for Esquire. It's long, and a few years old now, but it is incredibly moving. If you get to the end and haven't shed a tear or two, then you are a cold, cold-hearted person indeed.
    Here's the link:

  2. Wow. What an awesome article - very moving (and yes, I shed many tears as I read it). Thank you for sharing it.

  3. To Bigboid: If I have a long reply, I do it in Notepad first and then copy and paste it.

    Sam: Along the same lines and yet not quite the same, I was lamenting how anyone in uniform now is given a "hero" tag. Even the private who changes the oil on tanks and jeeps at a stateside post gets applauded and thanked when walking through an airport in his BDUs.

    When I was in, I knew real heroes. People who did heroic things to save the lives of others with little or no regard for themselves. And all I did was sit behind a desk in a comfy office. I would have been offended for the sake of those other men and women had I been called a hero.

    Society has no real appreciation for or understanding of the military. It makes me wish service was compulsory.

  4. One of my personal friends while I was at the Academy the first time... a real nice guy and truly a hero. Had there been a Wikipedia back then, I would have been happy to write the article.

  5. Thanks for the link to CMSgt Fisk...he sounds like a true hero. Of course you know you can always add to his wiki page, right? :)