View Full Version : Flags at half-staff for Virginia Tech; why not for fallen U.S. troops?

04-24-07, 07:54 AM
U.S. soldier: Flags at half-staff for Virginia Tech; why not for fallen U.S. troops?

By: ALISA TANG - Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Army sergeant complained in a rare opinion article that the U.S. flag flew at half-staff last week at the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan for those killed at Virginia Tech but the same honor is not given to fallen U.S. troops here and in Iraq.

In the article issued Monday by the public affairs office at Bagram military base north of Kabul, Sgt. Jim Wilt lamented that his comrades' deaths have become a mere blip on the TV screen, lacking the "shock factor" to be honored by the Stars and Stripes as the deaths at Virginia Tech were.

"I find it ironic 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," Wilt wrote.

He noted that Bagram obeyed President Bush's order last week that all U.S. flags at federal locations be flown at half-staff through April 22 to honor 32 people killed at Virginia Tech by a 23-year-old student gunman who then killed himself.

"I think it is sad that we do not raise the bases' flag to half-staff when a member of our own task force dies," Wilt said.

According to the Defense Department, 315 U.S. service members have died in and around Afghanistan since the U.S.-led offensive that toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001, 198 of them in combat.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said that the flags of all its troop-contributing nations are flown at half-staff for about 72 hours after the service member's death "as a mark of respect when there is an ISAF fatality."

Sgt. 1st Class Dean Welch, who works with Wilt at the U.S.-led coalition public affairs office, said the essay is a "soldier's commentary, not the view of the coalition and not the view of the U.S. forces."

Welch added that such outspoken opinion pieces are rare.

Wilt suggested that flags should fly at half-staff on the base where the fallen service member was working and in the states where they hail from. He said some states do this, but not all of them.

He wrote that the death of a U.S. service member is just as violent as those at the university last week, but it lacks the "shock factor of the Virginia massacre."

"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. People have come to expect casualty counts in the nightly news; they don't expect to see 32 students killed," he wrote.

"If the flags on our (operating bases) were lowered for just one day after the death of a service member, it would show the people who knew the person that society cared, the American people care."

On the Net:

U.S. military in Afghanistan: www.cfc-a.centcom.mil/


04-24-07, 08:12 AM
Can anybody think of a moral applicable to this article ?

04-24-07, 11:55 AM
a period of time taken to reflect upon and/or pay tribute to a loss, usually a loved one.
(my own interpretation)

If we are to fly our national ensign at half staff at the loss of a service member, then why not daily during a time of war or armed conflict ??

As veterans, we have ALL served that our flag may fly high and free.
"... long may she wave..."

I for one feel that keeping our national symbol at the top of her mast DOES pay tribute, to ALL that have served and paid the price, that she may fly free. We flew at half staff by proclimation of the CiC, not by directive of the Constitution.

A moral;??
AND OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE, and will be as long as we are the land of the free, and home of the brave.

Semper Fi

04-24-07, 01:31 PM
10thz- What moral would you apply to this article?

04-24-07, 02:59 PM

04-24-07, 03:16 PM
10thz- What moral would you apply to this article?

I asked you, but here's former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger take on it !


What Henry Kissinger Thinks of Our Military

By Lisa Guliani
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"Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy." ~ Henry Kissinger ~ January-February 2003 edition of Eagle Newsletter
The above statement given by Henry Kissinger should dispel any possible doubt or confusion in the skeptics among us as to just how little our servicemen matter to the elitist madmen calling the shots. No longer do they spew empty words to placate the masses. They are admitting outright that our soldiers are expendable and disposable. If the above statement by Kissinger doesn't make your blood run cold, then tell me, what will?

While the war-mongers relentlessly push us into a war nobody else wants, our troops are scattered far and wide, preparing for the unpredictable and seemingly inevitable confrontations which lie ahead. Some are saying this war will lead to peace. The absurdity of such a statement is apparent. Why must we engage in war to obtain peace? What will be the ultimate price of such peace? How many American lives must be sacrificed as collateral damage to purchase this "peace"? How many of our sons and daughters will die in order for the Controllers to achieve their insidious ends? It's beyond horrible to consider.

My son recently informed me that he intends to enlist in the Army in November when he turns 17. He has already spoken with an Army recruiter. Like so many other young people his age, my son has bought into the "Illusions of the Machine". He feels strong, invincible, and is all "gung ho" to go into a combat situation to "protect America" from terrorists. The extent of his misperception is incredible. How many of our young men and women are feeding into this crap? Too many, I imagine. While my son is trained in how to use deadly weapons, will he realize that someday he may be ordered to use them against his own people? Has he considered this possibility? No. My son is not politically aware of how the Machine operates and who is truly in command. . He simply sees the opportunity to jump into the fray, travel to distant lands, and dress up like G. I. Joe, probably imagining he is "Rambo". He envisions excitement and danger and a break from monotony. He likes the idea of being a "hero".

What I would really like to do is take my son to Washington, D.C. and let him check out the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. Perhaps some of his perceptions would change if he could look at the faces of war, if he could feel the pain and horror of war, if he could taste the blood of war. The Korean War Memorial has a wall of its own. On it is inscribed a simple sentence: "Freedom Is Not Free." My son has no concept of this sentence at this point. If he joins the Army in November, he is in for one hell of a rude awakening.

Sadly, it is this feeling of invincibility that is all too prevalent in our society today. Americans do not believe anything can touch them or hurt them. Not really. Many of our people are still disconnected from the big picture, simply because nothing horrible is happening in their own backyards. I hearken back to 9/11/2001, and remember the disconnection of some of the people in my life to that unforgettable mass murder. I couldn't believe it then, and I still have a hard time with it. America, when are you going to realize that what happens to SOME of us happens to ALL of us?

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Our young men and women are steadily disappearing into Bush's War Machine, where they will be forever changed. They don't realize just WHO they're fighting FOR. They don't know because our fine military leaders aren't going to tell them. They don't need to know - because our war-crazy leadership isn't going to tell them either. They are viewed as "dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy", remember? And still they enlist, never realizing perhaps, until it's too late, that they've put their very lives in jeopardy for the true "evildoers", the plutocrats designing this war to suit their heinous schemes.

These "dumb, stupid animals" are OUR children and they're being shipped out and set up to die on foreign soil. How does this sit with you? It makes my blood BOIL. And while I will do my best to dissolve the smoke & mirrors clouding my son's thinking, the writing is already on the wall. The Machine wants to chew up another "dumb, stupid animal" - my child.

I'd like to ask Henry Kissinger to personally explain his statement to me and all the other American mothers and fathers out there whose children are gearing up to fight this obscene war under false pretenses.
My message to George Bush and the rest of the lunatic Machine is: I'll see you all in HELL. Don't be late.
Life is just one damned thing after another....

04-24-07, 03:36 PM
After reading what the Former SecState stated about the hardcharging grunts It brings to light why Colin Powell's Generation came up with the criteria for the use of the American Military.

04-24-07, 03:36 PM
After reading what the Former SecState stated about the hardcharging grunts It brings to light why Colin Powell's Generation came up with the criteria for the use of the American Military.