Today’s news is full of sad stories about the tragic loss of one of America’s singing icons. We will all be bombarded with facts about her accomplishments, her troubled life, her many fans who will be weeping, and on and on. Some people woke up this morning wondering where they could send flowers and teddy bears to in order to demonstrate their grief. For the next week or so, story after story will run in between the other tragedies of our time.
I’m probably going to piss off a few people today but I think it was a tragic loss for an entirely different reason.
The tragic loss is not the death of such a troubled soul. The tragic loss is the loss of what she could have accomplished in order to help lift her many fans. It is the lost opportunity to turn the fame into solutions for others in ways that have meaning. She had everything and besides her musical legacy, leaves nothing. Her sacrifice is at the alter of fame and will leave a hollow memory.
No, to me, the real tragic loss is Marine Corps Corporal Jon-Luke Bateman, age 22 from Tulsa Oklahoma who gave his life in combat in Helmand Province Afghanistan. His last day on January 15th 2012 will not be marked as a national day of sadness. We have become numb to the sacrifices of he and the other 2,442 others who died in hostile action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
I did not know the Corporal. From the official reports:
Pendleton, Okinawa Marines die in Afghanistan
Marine Corps Times staff report
Two Marines were killed Sunday in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.
Cpl. Jon-Luke Bateman and Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran died in combat in Helmand province, Pentagon officials said in a news release issued Tuesday. It’s not immediately clear if their deaths are related.
Bateman, 22, of Tulsa, Okla., was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. An infantryman, he was on his first combat deployment.
Cochran, 20, of Wilder, Idaho, was assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, out of Okinawa, Japan. He was a water support technician.
Marines with 2/4 have been operating in the southern part of Musa Qala, according Lt. Col. Bill Vivian, the battalion’s commander, who posted a message Saturday on the unit’s Facebook page.
Earlier this month they launched Operation Double Check, aimed at booting Taliban fighters from the area, which he referred to as “contested terrain.”
The enemy, he said in his message, “doesn’t want to let it go.”
Vivian said 2/4 is scheduled to be replaced in March by Camp Pendleton’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. Ninth ESB has been in theater only since late-November
From his Facebook page, this was listed as his favorite quote:
“Ducle et decorum est pro paria mori.”
The quotation is from a poem by Wilfred Owen, a poet during World War I. Translated from Latin, it means:
“It is sweet and right to die for your country.”
On New Years Eve he had posted on his Facebook that he was unmotivated and asked for his friends to help him out. His Mother replied first:
“Keep looking up and know that you are going to be home sooner than you think. You will be back with friends, family, and you can party a little bit and you can either laugh at your Mother for her piercings. LOL Love Ya.”
I will be a bit sad for the loss of opportunity for what Whitney could have given back in exchange for her meteoric fame.
I will weep today for the true sacrifice of Corporal Bateman and his fellow Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Guardsmen.
He will not have much press attention other than his home town paper and a few others. He will never see his brothers and sisters again. He will not get to march in any Veterans Day parades. The loss of any of our men and women defending freedom is the real tragic loss.
Personal message to Private Zias: Remember to keep your head down. Uncle B