"All we hear about is Michael Jackson. Let's knock out the psychobabble. He was a pervert … and to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? … I just think we're too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say, 'We don't need Michael Jackson!' He died, he had some talent, but fine, there are people dying every day. There are men and women dying every day in Afghanistan, let's give them the credit they deserve."
Yes, let's do that.
Another soldier died with Pfc. Casillas on Independence Day at Combat Outpost Zerok in Afghanistan's Paktika province. He was 20-year-old Pfc. Aaron Fairbairn. Fairbairn's stepfather, David Masters, took to the social networking service Twitter to spread the word and keep Fairbairn's legacy alive. "On Independence Day, a few hours ago, they killed my son Aaron in Afghanistan," Masters wrote.
According to the Department of Defense, both Fairbairn and Casillas died from "wounds suffered when insurgents attacked the outpost using small arms and indirect fires." The Taliban claimed credit for the complex rocket and mortar attack involving a reported 8,000 kg of explosives.
Tens of thousands of our men and women are in Iraq and Afghanistan to combat the jihadi threat. Army 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw gave his life on June 25, the same day Jackson died. Bradshaw's aunt, Martha Gillis, blasted the silence over her nephew's sacrifice in a letter to her local paper, The Washington Post:
"My nephew, Brian Bradshaw, was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan on June 25, the same day that Michael Jackson died. … Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?" Gillis wrote that Bradshaw "had old-fashioned values and believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk. … He was a search-and-rescue volunteer, an altar boy, a camp counselor. He carried the hopes and dreams of his parents willingly on his shoulders. What more than that did Michael Jackson do or represent that earned him memorial 'shrines,' while this soldier's death goes unheralded? It makes me want to scream."
Please do not despair, Mrs. Gillis. While the Rev. Al Sharpton screamed, "Thank you, Michael! Thank you, Michael!" at the grotesque Staples Center memorial on Tuesday, many of us whispered in prayer: Thank you, Justin. Thank you, Aaron. Thank you, Brian. The real American heroes won't be forgotten.