This US soldier is right. Why do we fly the flag at half-staff for the VA Tech victims, for deceased US Senators and judges, but not for our soldiers fallen in war?
A U.S. 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.We should pass legislation requiring the flags to fly at half-staff for 24 hours each time a US soldier is killed during war time. Is that too much a sacrifice for us to make, considering the ultimate sacrifice we ask of our soldiers? Yes, every day we lose scores of soldiers in Iraq, and thus it means our flags would likely fly at half-staff every day until the war in Iraq is over. But what better way to honor the brave Americans service members who gave their lives for their country? Are we to punish them, refuse to honor them, simply because too many of them have given their lives for us? The magnitude of their numbers is all the more reason to honor them, not shun them.
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 flag 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.
And in spite of what the soldier says in his open letter, let's have none of this "flying the flags at half-staff one sole day to honor all of our fallen troops" - we don't fly the flag just one day a year to collectively honor every senator or judge who died that year. We should fly the flag at half-staff every day a US service member is killed in war. There is simply no excuse for anyone to refuse to honor our war dead who have given much more for their country than a senator or a judge.
Someone on the Hill, and our veterans' organizations, should demand that legislation today.