Thank You, My Sheepdogs
By RU Rob
On February 11th I just happened to be inside of a jail. That in itself really isn’t news. But at about 6:30 in the evening, there was all of a sudden talk of Whitney Houston kicking the bucket. The first question that popped into my very primitive head was, ”Did she over overdose?” Honest question right? I mean, she has been a known drug-addict for over 15 years. The next question was, ”How freaking long are we going to have to be blasted with Whitney this and Whitney that? Why is the media going to waste valuable minutes of my day memorializing someone who has voluntarily flushed their life down the toilet when there are so many patriotic men and women who voluntarily give their life for this great country yet barely get a mention at the close of a news broadcast let alone a headline anywhere?”
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Whitney Houston was a great singer at one point in her life. If anyone ever lived overseas during the 1990’s and had the distinct pleasure of listening to or watching the Armed Forces Network (as if you had a choice) you were subject to Ms. Houston every night at midnight as they replayed her singing the Star Spangled Banner at the 1991 Super Bowl. It was a moving rendition to say the least and in my opinion one of the best I have ever heard. But that was before the nose candy really started taking effect on her. That is all I am going to say…period… as I refuse to pay any unnecessary accolades to someone of her wealth who is a self-admitted drug-addict.
On February 11th at about the same time, a couple of thousand miles away, something else happened. This is something that you won’t see on the mainstream media and will be lucky to read about on page seven of your local paper. You see, SFC Billy Sutton, an American soldier, also died in Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter how he died because it won’t be reported, but he died in service to our country and just like too many before him he will be laid to rest without the celebration of life that he deserves. There will not be an 18,000-seat civic center with hundreds of security officers holding back the masses. There will not be a miles-long funeral procession with wailing fans lined up 10 deep along the route. There will only be a small group of Veterans and family who recognize the importance of the life he led and the choices he made to make our country great. That small group of family and teammates will describe him as “Patriotic” and “Unwavering” and will speak of his two combat tours in Iraq and how he volunteered to fill a critical position in Afghanistan when he made the ultimate sacrifice.
We all grumble about the unfairness that our brave Armed Forces don’t get the publicity they deserve, and we’re right. They don’t. All too often the heroics of our Armed Forces go unnoticed. It isn’t by design it’s by culture. In a country where every night on every major network there is a 30-minute show all about the gossip of who’s dating who and who’s cheating on who that there’s little room for the true heroes of today. Ten long years ago when we first started losing our brothers and sisters, it was news. But soon the rest of the nation became numb to it and it was no longer classified as such, being pushed back from the front page to the obituaries section.
So on this day and for this week, when everyone else is celebrating the life of a crackhead, I am celebrating the lives of those lost. The men and women who donned the uniform one last time and were laid to rest without the pomp and circumstance they so deserved.
Thank you my sheepdogs.