Letter from the Editor 

I was traveling last week, and everywhere I went, American flags were flying at half-mast in response to President Bush's order to lower the flag in honor of the deaths of 32 students at Virginia Tech University.

In the airports, television screens endlessly replayed video footage of the mass murderer's "explanation" for his senseless rampage. People watched, shook their heads, and went back to their magazines or paperbacks.

President Bush's order got a somewhat different response from an Army sergeant named Jim Wilt, who is stationed in Afghanistan. "I find it ironic," Wilt wrote, "that the flags were flown at half-staff for the young men and women who were killed at VT, yet it is never lowered for the death of a U.S. service member."

He noted that his post in Bagram obeyed the president's order even though the flag is not lowered for members of his unit who are killed in combat. He reasoned that it was because "it is a daily occurrence these days to see X number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan scrolling across the ticker at the bottom of the TV screen."

Which is true. On the day of the VT massacre, the names of six U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq scrolled across our televisions. You know nothing about these men and women, and neither do I. The only thing we do know is that they died in service to the flag that was flying at half-mast for 32 dead students — whose names and photos were published in most newspapers around the country.

I think lowering the flag for the students was the right action for the president to take. But I find it ironic that he can go to a memorial service for fallen students yet not find the time to attend the funeral of a single soldier who has died in the horrific fiasco he and his minions have created in Iraq.

I understand the impracticality of lowering the flag for each of the 3,700 men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we did so, it would be permanently at half-mast.

Which, come to think of it, is probably appropriate these days.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Made in America

    • Little Big Town

Blogs

Music Blog

Circa Survive Rekindles Magic At Growlers

Fly On The Wall Blog

Artist Renderings for RDC Riverfront Seen as a Comic Book...

Music Blog

WYPL brings you the Memphis Sound

News Blog

Tennessee Breaks Record for Student Aid Requests

News Blog

MLGW's Water Test Comes Back Clean

Fly On The Wall Blog

RDC Announces Plan to Raise Atlantis

News Blog

New Vision Unveiled for Riverfront

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
  • Have Yourselves an Angry Little Christmas

    In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...

    • Dec 10, 2015
  • Making Tennessee Great Again!

    I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...

    • Jan 7, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation