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?
Christophe Mazurier lobbies for U.S. model for financing arts
Thursday 28 - 14:14by hyuem
A Nation of Monday Morning Quarterbacks
Monday 11 - 21:26by Richard John Stapleton
Nuclear Weapons Ban & BDS to save world from Nuclear, Poverty & Climate threats
Monday 11 - 09:20by Dr Gideon Polya
Top Australian columnist loses job for criticizing latest Israeli Gaza Massacre
Friday 8 - 07:52by Dr Gideon Polya
WW1, ongoing Palestinian Genocide, latest Israeli Gaza Massacre & Western lies
Tuesday 5 - 15:20by Dr Gideon Polya
Weapons System offered to Hamas and the People of Gaza
Monday 4 - 15:57by William Morgan
Israel’s Attempted Genocide Must Fail: Lessons from Genocide in ’Canada’
Monday 4 - 05:20by Denis Rancourt
BEYOND THE EURO: THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE
Saturday 2 - 15:34by Co-ordinating of the Left against the euro, Italy
letter of august to president Obama
Friday 1 - 09:36by kakine
55 anti-racist Australian MPs condemn Israel’s Gaza Massacre and war crimes
Thursday 31 - 08:31by Dr Gideon Polya
Hell, No—We won’t go! We won’t fight for Texaco!! - Rebellion in *west* Ukraine
Wednesday 30 - 21:47by Daniel Patrick Welch
Tejarat Aria Gostar Iranian Navid Co.: Why the end of sanctions against Iran may
Wednesday 30 - 17:59
"I got my eyes on your fatty"
Tuesday 29 - 04:28by BenAMarine
"If I forget about them, may God forget about me"
Monday 28 - 19:12by Daniel Patrick Welch
Refutation of false Zionist one-liners behind the latest Israeli Gaza Massacre
Saturday 26 - 00:21by Dr Gideon Polya
IS RELIGION HUMANITY’S DEADLIEST INVENTION?
Friday 25 - 12:46by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Israeli Gaza Massacre: Nobel Laureates & others call for arms embargo on Israel
Monday 21 - 02:44by Dr Gideon Polya
Escalation of Shelling in Eastern Ukraine by Kviv After Tragic Crash...
Sunday 20 - 20:11by Roger Annis
Malaysian Airlines MH17 atrocity & ongoing Apartheid Israeli Gaza Massacre
Saturday 19 - 03:56by Dr Gideon Polya
On How Reality Happens
Tuesday 15 - 15:50by Richard John Stapleton
The world must stop Apartheid Israel’s latest massacre of Palestinians in Gaza
Saturday 12 - 09:20by Dr Gideon Polya
REVOLT (peacefully): Open Letter to Young People over $220 trillion Carbon Debt
Friday 11 - 02:58by Dr Gideon Polya
$10 trillion per year increased Carbon Debt for young people & doomed (?) planet
Tuesday 8 - 02:52by Dr Gideon Polya
Truth Crushed to Earth: Why Ukraine, as part of a global struggle, won’t be solv
Monday 7 - 21:57by Daniel Patrick Welch
letter of july to president Obama
Friday 4 - 21:41by kakine
Horrendous global deaths means make Fourth of July Independence from America Day
Friday 4 - 09:09by Dr Gideon Polya
BOYCOTT HOBBY LOBBY
Thursday 3 - 04:30by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
A report on the Hindu nationalist circuit in the United States
Tuesday 1 - 11:51
THE SUPREME COURT OF THE CORPORATE INTERESTS
Tuesday 1 - 02:16by David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
Important book review: "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty
Tuesday 1 - 01:26by Dr Gideon Polya
4% pa Global Wealth Tax to stop the 17M pa Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust
Friday 27 - 09:30by Dr Gideon Polya
Was Invading Iraq the Worst Decision in US History?
Monday 23 - 21:43by Richard John Stapleton
IRAQ, ISIS, AND INTERVENTION: JUST WHAT IS GOING ON?
Saturday 21 - 15:37by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Iraqi hydrocarbon prize of U.S. invasion in danger
Friday 20 - 09:37by Nicola Nasser
Antagonizing Palestinians, Australia’s linguistic blunder snowballs
Tuesday 17 - 20:09by Nicola Nasser
THE WEST DECLARES on IRAQ
Monday 16 - 20:04by SON OF A BUSH
GENOCIDE, GREAT WARS, AND OTHER HUMAN DEPRAVITY
Monday 16 - 15:33by JOHN CHUCKMAN
The Jewish Plan For the Middle East and Beyond
Sunday 15 - 18:12by Gilad Atzmon
A Clear Message to ISIS Leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Saturday 14 - 17:31by Willam Morgan
How long will we stay quiet?
Saturday 14 - 13:13by Just Wondering