Lack of Appreciation

Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009.  Congress held a moment of silence on June 26, 2009 to recognize the singer’s unprecedented talent and his humanitarian efforts.

Meanwhile, the number of casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are amounting to numbers in the thousands.  And the numbers continue to increase on a daily basis.

My feelings are not reflective of the passing of Michael Jackson, or any other celebrity for that matter; they are reflective of the respect, that I feel, should be paid to the thousands of men and women that are overseas fighting for us . . . fighting to defend our rights as citizens of the United States of America.

When Michael Jackson died, the tabloids and news media provided around the clock coverage of his death; people gathered in Hollywood to mourn the pop icon, while other celebrities held a memorial and wrote songs and poems for him.

Where is the moment of silence for the fallen soldiers?  Where is the acknowledgement of their families, who have to continue to live their lives without them?  Where are the people gathering to mourn those who have died to protect our freedom?  Where are the songs dedicated to them, and the poems?

When did we become so calloused, that we can arbitrarily dismiss the deaths of good men and women?

As the daughter of a retired Air Force Colonel, I know very well the impact of being separated from your loved one due to military commitments.  If Congress is going to hold a moment of silence for Michael Jackson, a man who entertained us for a few decades, then Congress also needs to hold a moment of silence for every soldier who lays down their life so that we can continue to enjoy the freedom that their sacrifice affords us.

Even more important; our soldiers volunteer to protect us.  They willingly swore to defend the Constitution of the United States, knowing that they might not survive.

My point in writing this is not to minimize Jackson’s contributions, but instead to point out the priorities of our society; the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan have become commonplace.  In a split second, we direct our attention and our time to the deaths of celebrities who, in all fairness, were scrutinized for a large portion of their lives.  They suddenly become important to us.

And, as the days proceed, the war becomes less important.

Not only are we failing to recognize the people overseas who are fighting in the war; we’re also failing to recognize their families—the husbands, the wives, the children.  Don’t they deserve some recognition too?

I believe that if we, as a society, become so oblivious to the death of our soldiers, we may never understand the true consequences of war, or what is meant by making the ultimate sacrifice.

I also believe that we, as a society, tend to focus on insignificant things in order to avoid dealing with reality.  In the midst of our frenzied lives, and attraction to the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, we overlook the small people who allow us to maintain our lives and freedoms their deployment allows us.