A Mark Finkelstein goes after Reporter Chris Hayes of MSNBC for saying he is uncomfortable calling our war dead "Heroes". I am also, but not for the reason put forward by Mr Hayes; "uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war". Weak.
My reason is that war is Radom and quirky. My Pilot Training Roommate, Addo Kommandant, bought it very early in his first tour out of Cam Rahn Bay, when his Front Seater ran into a mountain in bad weather. My Freshman year roommate, Alan Trent, bought it on a low level weaPons delivery pass in South Viet-nam. The "Golden BB". The chap who sat next to me in the last row of the bottom section of third year EE, Karl Richter (actually, I think Lin Bothwell♠ sat between us) died on his 200th mission (100 being a full tour) when he was forced to eject, got a good chute and then smashed into some karst on the way down. They were men doing their job and were unlucky. They were like my wife's late husband, who died in an F-4C accident off Okinawa in 1965.
The thing about all of them is that they heeded the call to action and went. But I want to save the term Hero for the likes of Lance Sijan. A year behind me at the Air Force Academy, he was born only three days after me.
War doesn't exist because of heroes. War exists because a nation is afraid, or a nation feels the need to impose its ideology or religion on others, or, once in a while, to end cruelty. In the past wars have existed as nations tried to find living space. As Dead Carl says, "War is a trinity of the People, the Government and the Military". Heroes are a byproduct, but then we even have heroes in peacetime.
But, whether Heroes or the victims of fate, we should honor all our fallen, fallen in wartime or peacetime, because all were ready and willing to serve.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Aviator Earnest K Gann wrote a book, Fate is the Hunter, which looks at luck in the aviation dodge. Lin struggled with the hard sciences. As I recall, he was my roommate first semester of our senior year, when he busted not only EE (remember, last row, bottom section, and we sectioned and sat based upon our standing in each particular class), but also Aero and Astro. He was "that close" and washed out. He later went on to get a PhD from Harvard, but in a "soft" science. He was willing, but the Dean of Academics was not. Fate.
10 months ago