I'm reading the book now, having pre-ordered a copy. Darrell was one of my Soldiers in B/1-5 IN at Ft. Lewis. He was a hard chargeing soldier, whom I didn't take seriously at first....until I really got to see his level of commitment and dedication. I was extremely heartened to see his devotion to his soldiers as well as his courage.The book isn't the most compelling read overall, unless you have a personal connection with the Griffin's, but it really does delve into the relationship between a father and son.I do recommend the book......I wish everybody could get to know the complex and wise soul that Darrell possessed, at least through his own words.
When a soldier dies it is a truly tragic situation. These are young men and women who have committed their lives to protecting the citizens of the US. They know full well that they may never return home. For that, I thank them dearly. I just have to say I have been a fan of this blog for a couple months. I enjoy the insight that is provided here, which most likely, would not be found anywhere else. With that said, I am very disappointed that you seem to be hinting that Michael Jackson's life didn't matter. The truth is everyone's life mattered. Whether they were a solider who died in battle, a regular Joe whose time came, or a singer who sang their last tune, everyone's life matters. Everyone adds something to this world. Some people's contributions may be more apparent than others. Whether you admired or hated someone, there is no reason to deny they had some importance. I am not trying to lecture you, or insult you; all I want to do is give my opinion on something that felt wrong. I know the intent of your post was not to provoke a moral lecture from a 16-year-old but I felt it was important for me to respond. As I feel remorse for Griffin, the fallen soldier, I also feel remorse over Michael Jackson’s death. We lost two great men because of their deaths. They both contributed great things to this world; they were very different things, but none the less great.
I truly understand your point of view. My grandfather was a Marine in Korea. He made it home, only to be taken out by a silent killer (cancer) last year. He was a great man and a great Marine. His death barely received recognition in the paper. People went about their lives, not realizing that a great man who fought for them had died. I admit that happens everyday, all too often. The bright young people of our future dying in foreign streets is one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Yes, our society is obsessed with celebrities. Yes, some people raise celebrities to ridiculous standards. Celebrities are people like you, me, and Griffin. They breathe the way we do, walk the way we do, feel the way we do, have families and friends like we do, and bleed the way we do. Do they deserve more attention when they die? No. Are they any better than you or me? No. Do they deserve to be told their life doesn’t matter? Absolutely not. We have to remember that we are the ones, as a society, that lifts celebrities above us, while we have our neighbors, friends, and family fighting for their lives and ours overseas. Society likes to forget the ugly and dangerous and focus on the things they see as beautiful and they see poses no threat to themselves or their conscience. If we want that changed, we will have to be the people to take action.
Alexa,I was pointing out that priorities in elevating certain people after death is a bit misplaced. It won't ever change, but that doesn't make it less of a shame. That MJ was a punchline two days ago adds to the artificiality of those seeking to mourn over him. To compare the two, especially in honor, courage and sacrifice, well, there is no comparison. SSG Griffin remains in a class of his own, better than the peers he left on this earth.
I accidentally deleted the comment you replied to, but I see your point. It is up to us to change the culture we live in, but from where I'm sitting, we're too far gone. I'm sure a lot of people have made the suggestion I have before - to put the faces and names of the fallen on every daily newspaper in the country, instead of a quick blurb. If the people could stomach that every day is a different story.
I think I fully understand your comments now. I do believe they are not as malicious as I first thought. Thank you for explaining it to me, instead of blowing me off as so many would have. I do understand your frustration with society (I believe it is frustration) as I felt that way when my grandfather died.
And thank you for commenting. You show more grace and patience than some commenters two or three times your age.
I believe your suggestion of putting the names and faces of the fallen in every newspaper would be a good idea. It would force people to think of the consequences of our actions, but as you said, people being able to handle it is another story. Call me an idealist if you like, but I believe society is never too far gone. If we give up on ourselves what will become of the world? As each new generation takes power, I believe we will see changes that surprise even ourselves.
Thank you very much. I believe constructive and civilized debates and conversations are making an unfortunate decline in our society. I hope one day people make the realization that all well thought out opinions have merit and won't be squashed by yelling and screaming. And again, thank you for answering back and not ignoring my questions.
Alex, I'm sure you feel the same way that I do about the subject...returning to the FOB (if we were lucky enough to be blessed with FOB privileges that day) after a HARD day in the suck, going to the DFAC for a meal, and on the news all they seem to care about back in the real world is Lindsay Lohan and whoever else dealing with clinical exhaustion! What a slap in the face. Real men do so much for a country that cares so little, but they still go at it day after day without asking for thanks or recognition. Being in the company of men like this is something that I will truly miss, even more so when it is so apparent that the only people who truly understand (or appreciate, for that matter) the sacrifices of servicemen and women are those who have served. Keep spreading the good word brother; as long as you keep writing, I'll keep reading.P.S. If you want another good book to read after finishing Griffin's story, here you go: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Soldiers-David-Finkel/dp/0374165734/ref=sr_1_9/181-3901533-0924153?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246054938&sr=1-9Always gotta rep the old unit :)
Army Dude,I never really understood what it was like to loose a friend in war, until I lost 2...and had 7 wounded. I had a rule for my teams, you may use this rule if you like, I don't have a copy wright on this rule:"Nobody on my teams gets hurt or killed...or I'm going to kick your ass!"It workd for two deployments. Try it and let me know.
more and more im finding that i fell differently then the majority... it doesnt bother me that the masses are mourning Michael Jackson today, and werent giving a shit about him a week ago... it doesnt bother me that the masses are more concerned about linsey lohan then about what me and my soldiers are doing.... it doesnt bother me that humanity has a way of selectivly deciding the level of importance an issue has on a whim... shit its the same for individual people for that matter... there are many egregious atrocities world wide that we all our aware of, but on a day to day basic give little thought to... starvation, genocide, oppression, just to name a few... the reason in my mind is the disconnect... being so far away from it takes away its importance.... if you dont belive me or disagree think about this... how many times in the last month can you honestly say that you mourned those who have recently staved to death... i havent once... but i bet if i were in some village in Africa and i was watching it and i was close to it, it would have a profound impact on me.... the situation doesnt change, just the fact that im closer to the issue.... its the same thing for soldier... im over here... its my brothers who are dying and its the people i know and love... but to that guy in Maine who works at walmart and lives his own life, it really doesnt matter, and he really doesnt feel or care as much about it... it that wrong... NO... i would be a hipocrite if i said it was or if i felt soured by that... i do that same thing... EVERYONE DOES.... its easy for me to place importance on soldiers and the injustices i endure or witness because im close and familiar with them... but the soldiers and friends ive lost pale in comparison to the genocide in somalia right now... Me losing my friend and soldier to an IED affects me deeply but in the grand scheme of things cant hold a candle to entire village of people being brutally murdered.... To me when you pan out and look at everything then pan back in you gain a better perspective.... so like i said, i really dont care how people fell about this or that... i really dont care were people place there emotions... Is it important to me that America mourns the fallen US soldiers to the extent they deserve... NO.... I understand that human nature precludes them from doing so... they are to far disconnected from it... PS ( i mean no disrespect to anyone and im not trying to down play the importances of remembering those we've lost )
Been looking up the book to get it shipped over sometime next month. Yeah, I wouldn't take this as a knock against MJ, but MJ didn't die violently defending something. He died at 50 in a hospital of (I'm making an assumption here) mostly natural causes.Great Blog, great post. Good to acknowledge the men who deserve to be elevated.
There was a great cover story about Staff Sgt. Griffin in U.S. News and World Report right after he died. I read it several times... he was so compelling and eloquent in his emails, and the article itself was extremely well-written. You can still find it online.
Thanks for sharing the article and for the heads-up on the book. I'm very impressed with the exchange between you and young Alexa. What a bright young woman - well spoken and open to your insight. Kudos to you both!Thinking about SSGT Griffin took me back to a song you've heard before. One of your readers turned me onto it. It's on my Facebook and and when it flips to pg 2 I put it back on pg 1 just because I love it and because he captured exactly how I felt when my husband was at war. Its always worth a listen, especially for new readers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ANfzrKmQYY&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Efacebook%2Ecom%2Fprofile%2Ephp%3Fid%3D1397122767&feature=player_embeddedWow, it looks a mess but it works, listening to it now.~P~
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