I'm not a Michael Jackson hater. I liked his music, partly because it was part of my life as a young man. And I never judge people and their morals. Unless convicted by a court of law, it's really between them, the truth -- whatever that might be -- and their maker.
But as thousands of people filled a huge arena in Los Angeles this week, and millions more were glued to their television sets; as accolades unlimited were spoken about the late "King of Pop," my mind was on how seven other Americans might be honored. You see, on July 6, seven American troops were killed in Afghanistan, making it the deadliest day for our military there in nearly a year.
Their bodies would no doubt be shipped back to our nation in those standard military coffins. The American flags draping these simple containers would be the sole hope for added color, grandeur or beauty. The coffins would have no stately gold or magnificent silk to hold their precious remains.
It is likely that no lottery will be necessary to gain tickets to their respective funerals or memorial services. No one will offer up a thin dime on eBay or Craigslist to have the honor of being present when the soldiers' families and friends gather to remember their fallen loved ones. I doubt many celebrities will be present at any of these somber occasions. Rev. Al Sharpton will have moved on to his next gig.
I feel certain we will not see repeated special TV broadcasts about the acts of bravery and heroism these soldiers performed as they fought to keep our nation from having to again encounter firsthand an organization active in Afghanistan and Pakistan that would, if given the chance, act to topple another American building. "Entertainment Tonight" won't cover these deaths because, hey, they aren't entertaining.
I guess you get the picture.
I'm not here to put down those who were touched by and who grieved over the death of Jackson. It would be just as easy to name-call and dwell on Jackson's bad past experiences as it would be to remember his immense talent and the songs that were so much a part of my life as I was growing up.
What is tougher is to describe the lives of these seven brave Americans who were blown up -- murdered -- in a rough, cruel, terrible foreign land. We don't know anything about them. But in another way we do. We know what they symbolize.
They symbolize the very best of our nation. They symbolize honor, bravery and sacrifice. They represent greatness. They represent security for my family and me, and for yours and you.
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