Saturday, June 22, 2013

Full support for half-staff

On the same day our Gov.'s girlfriend stupidly tried to vacation in the hotel room James Gandolfini just died in, New Jersey’s Chris Christie has decided to put state flags at half-staff in honor of the late actor. After reading the article that detailed Big Chris’s plan, I read the Facebook comments that followed. The consensus: Christie is wrong. Half-staff should be reserved for those who died at war and/or public servants. I say Christie is 100% right.

The commenters railed on about how those at war are the real heroes and Gandolfini was just some actor. People always get so artificially righteous about Vets. That kid you’re calling a hero was the same Vo-Tec kid you gave swirlies to in high school. So don’t think it makes you a better American to pretend you have all this respect for him when he’s killed by a roadside bomb. We both know you don’t care about that guy the same way we know you never missed an episode of THE SOPRANOS.

Maybe if we stopped filling these young recruits with the belief that people will salute them at gas stations and applaud them when they walk into restaurants, maybe less would sign lifetime contracts at eighteen, when they have the world-perception of a garden slug. I know an eighteen year old who signed up for the Army because he broke up with his girlfriend and needed to get away for a while. That’s eighteen-year-old logic. Recruiters toss these kids a free t-shirt and a bunch of lies. Said kid thinks he's gonna get a million dollars from the government. If less signed on maybe the Military would shrink and we wouldn't be able to set up in Afghanistan for thirteen years, doing God knows what. It's supply vs. demand. If the supply keeps coming, we can plant roots around the world, be at war forever.

I’m saddened when any Army kid is killed because I think of the life wasted, same way I was sad when that football player gave up the NFL to fight, then got killed five minutes later by friendly fire. He’s not a hero. He’s a fool. If you can lower the flags for him, you can lower them for Gandolfini.

And before you dismiss Gandolfini as nothing more than Tony Soprano, the most important TV role of all-time (Sorry Archie Bunker), educate yourself on what else he was. He raised and donated millions of dollars and brought national awareness to VFWs. Remember his documentaries on the men and women in uniform? He went to Afghanistan and has used his star power to do more for the Armed Services than you and I ever will. My opinion on the war and those who fight it may be the wrong one, but it’s consistent. We both know you delete the flags-at-half-staff email that comes across your desk a few times a week.

Of course Christie is doing this for PR attention. But I'm OK with this look-at-me move.

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Brian Huba

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