Hiding Our War Dead. Italy Publicly Honors Its War Dead, America Hides Its Dead
by : Gail Vida Hamburg
Wednesday March 23, 2005 - 05:25
Is That Respecting Our Soldiers?
by Gail Vida Hamburg
The state funeral in Rome last month for Nicola Calipari - the Italian intelligence officer who rescued a kidnapped journalist from Iraqi captors, only to be gunned down by jittery American soldiers at a checkpoint in Baghdad - was a national event that united all Italians, merging their raw sorrow with the singular grief of his widow and children. It was the second time Italy pulled out all the stops for its Iraq War dead. In November of 2003, it staged an elaborate state funeral for nineteen of its citizens, killed in a suicide truck bombing in Nasiriyah.
In both instances, Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, his ministers, President Carlo Ciampi, and an honor guard in full-dress uniform stood with grieving families on the tarmac of Rome’s Ciampino military airport to receive their dead. There were national days of mourning and public visitation hours to the reposed, and at night, the Coliseum’s lights were dimmed in a mark of respect.
All Italy watched (on television) as officers from Italy’s civil services carried the flag-draped coffins past honor guards representing every branch of the military. The Carabinieri (paramilitary corps), in their regal uniforms and blue-and-red plume hats, stood guard while lone buglers played the Last Post and other laments. Stricken Italians lined the routes of the funeral cortege to pay their respects, before the bodies were entombed in Rome’s war memorial.
The participation in these last rites symbolized a shared sacrifice between those who prosecute wars, those who must fight them, and those who grieve and honor them-not just the dead and their families, but the entire nation. The pageantry on display was no more excessive than the heroism of the fallen, for surely there can be no greater excess than surrendering one’s life for the country.
America, on the other hand, with 1,516 U.S. fatalities in Iraq as of March 16, 2005, pays little public attention to its war dead. Indeed, aside from the printed obituaries in metro sections of dailies, there is little acknowledgment by the government or substantial reporting in the media of the soldiers who perish in Iraq and the families they leave behind. We do not see or hear them. They die alone on the hot sands of Iraq and their survivors grieve privately on American soil.
This administration, which asks for courage and resolve from the military, can find in itself neither courage nor resolve to embrace them in death. According to Pentagon rules, “There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein [Germany] airbase or Dover [Del.] base, to include interim stops.” Last year, defense contractor Maytag Aircraft fired civilian workers, Tami Silicio and David Landry, for taking photographs of soldiers’ coffins at an airbase in Kuwait. The photographs surfaced at www.memoryhole.com after a Freedom of Information Act request by First amendment advocate, Russ Kick.
Even acknowledging soldiers’ deaths through meaningful tributes upsets many in the war faction. When Nightline anchor, Ted Koppel, broadcast a tribute to the soldiers who had died in Iraq by reading their names off camera while the photographs of the dead men and women were projected on the screen, supporters of the war cried foul.
The President has also made it his policy not to attend military funerals. If he believes our military is fighting for noble ideals, if he admires, as he says, their valor and sacrifice, why must he absent himself from their funerals or prevent our witness of their final return? Why must our war dead come home like thieves in the night?
Many mothers and fathers and children of dead soldiers are wrestling with their gods and demons, trying to find meaning for the holes in their hearts. Recognition of their departed - not with lavish state funerals, but public acknowledgment and remembrance of their sacrifice - may not give the families the meaning they seek, but it could show them that America honors and values their irrevocable loss.
In July of 1965, at the height of the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson spoke with a previously elusive candor. “I do not find it easy to send the flower of our youth, our finest young men, into battles. I have seen them filled with hope and life. I think that I know, too, how their mothers weep and how their families sorrow.”
But president Bush doesn’t know and neither do we. His war machine brings our fallen soldiers home from Iraq, dead as dead can be, and drops them down the well of forgetting. forgetting.
Do you hear the thud? Can you bear it?
TWO STATES OR ONE STATE? THE STARK REALITY IS THAT BOTH SOLUTIONS ARE IMPOSSIBL
Wednesday 22 - 18:16by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Open Letter to Australian MPs re Apartheid Israel PM Netanyahu’s Australia visit
Tuesday 21 - 00:18by Dr Gideon Polya
How Eric Arnoux and Fabrice Molinaro target the First Ammendment
Thursday 9 - 18:40by Billy1975
THE CHANCE FOR GREATNESS, BUT IT IS SO EASILY LOST
Saturday 28 - 20:19by JOHN CHUCKMAN
TRUMP: AMERICA’S HITLER
Saturday 28 - 04:07by David R. Hoffman
LUNATIC EXCESSES IN THE WASHINGTON MARCH - WHILE IGNORING MASS MURDER
Monday 23 - 19:19by JOHN CHUCKMAN
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SO-CALLED DOSSIER
Monday 16 - 15:08by JOHN CHUCKMAN
The Rotten Apple in The Prince’s Crown
Friday 13 - 18:44by RegisFranck
Christophe Mazurier takes part in the Hero World Challenge
Friday 13 - 11:43
OF WIZARDS AND WASHINGTON AND THE DREARY, UNRELENTING REALITY OF AMERICAN POLITI
Thursday 12 - 15:01by JOHN CHUCKMAN
A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
Monday 9 - 06:23by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Judah Ben Hur, Amb. Republican Candidate for President 2020
Sunday 8 - 15:00by Judah Ben Hur, Amb. Republican Candidate for President 2020
DARK DAY DEMOCRACY: THE ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT
Saturday 7 - 21:41by JACK RANDOM
President Donald Trump and Ambassador Judah Ben Hur
Saturday 7 - 15:04by President Donald Trump and Ambassador Judah Ben Hur
THE INSANE CIRCUS NOW GOING ON IN WASHINGTON – A SAD PARODY OF JOSEPH MCCARTHY
Friday 6 - 17:15by JOHN CHUCKMAN
The New Cultural Frontier as shown by Christophe Mazurier
Tuesday 27 - 14:29
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 – Beginning Of The End For Apartheid Israel?
Monday 26 - 23:37by Dr Gideon Polya
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT...A CONTEMPORARY CHRISTMAS TALE
Saturday 24 - 18:00by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Judicially arraign, try and punish climate criminals for 10 million deaths pa
Thursday 22 - 20:02by Dr Gideon Polya
Australia: the social cost of a cashless economy
Thursday 8 - 18:25by Sarah Jenkins
THE PROFOUND DISAPPOINTMENT OF ANGELA MERKEL
Monday 5 - 17:24by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Modern slaves rebel in rural South Africa and win!
Sunday 27 - 19:18by md
Arrivederci Fidel !!! Hasta la victoria siempre companero !!! (video)
Saturday 26 - 10:48by Roberto Ferrario
INDIANA: STATE OF SADISTIC COWARDICE
Tuesday 22 - 21:26by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Pro-Zionist Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Apartheid Israel’s Palestinian Genocide
Thursday 17 - 00:28by Dr Gideon Polya
Now We Can Finally Get to Work
Sunday 13 - 21:09by David Swanson
AMERICA’S DESCENT INTO FASCISM
Thursday 10 - 23:40by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS ELECTION?
Thursday 10 - 21:28by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Yves Bouvier case shows risks of media abuse
Sunday 6 - 19:56by Bob Boulder
Humane Green Party Dr Jill Stein versus serial war criminal Hillary Clinton
Friday 4 - 21:00by Gideon Polya
Public Apology to Women of the World from The American Republic (Hypatia of Alex
Monday 31 - 15:21by Willam Morgan
YES, THERE WILL BE ELECTION FRAUD, AND ON A GRAND SCALE
Sunday 23 - 18:32by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Hillary Clinton will be first female President 2017
Monday 10 - 17:21by Willam Morgan
Police Shootings: Law, Policy, and Accountability
Thursday 6 - 14:22by William John Cox
AMERICA DESERVES BETTER, BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE WORLD DESERVES BETTER
Thursday 29 - 18:02by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Back to School for Fascist Dupont-Aignan
Thursday 15 - 11:32by Nouveau Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes
The Presidency: Character Matters
Friday 9 - 15:06by William John Cox
WHY HILLARY IS THE PERFECT PERSON TO SECURE OBAMA’S LEGACY
Tuesday 30 - 18:08by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Remake of Ben Hur in 2020 planned by new motion picture studio
Friday 26 - 15:50by Wallace
THE CASE FOR DONALD TRUMP
Monday 22 - 19:32by JOHN CHUCKMAN