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?
Rests behind your border Erdogan !…
Tuesday 4 - 11:27by laurentgantner
Let’s raise our european OXI !
Monday 3 - 21:40by Blockupy International
UPDATE: Get somebody with a history, not an opportunist
Wednesday 29 - 06:38by Timbre Wolf
Between the democracy and the war, there is Recep Tayyip Erdogan…
Tuesday 28 - 20:58by laurentgantner
Luanda Poised to Take Its Place on the World Stage
Monday 27 - 22:51
Saturday 25 - 00:05by Timbre Wolf
Grexit, first Act
Friday 24 - 13:09by Raffaele Sciortino
Europe’s Impossible Dream
Tuesday 21 - 16:58by Paul Krugman
"The Streets Of Athens Will Fill With Tanks"
Tuesday 21 - 16:44by Tyler Durden
Judah Ben-Hur for US President 2016
Tuesday 21 - 15:37
Who is Flavio Becca? The bricklayer who is about to crash
Monday 20 - 15:04
SCOTT WALKER: SATAN’S CANDIDATE
Sunday 19 - 02:21by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Greece, austerity and the questions to pose
Friday 17 - 22:34by InfoAut
Tomorrow (on Saturday) it will stay 48 hours in Alexeï Tsipras To create the BMG
Friday 17 - 17:03by laurentgantner
Meet Leonid Sedov, the young lawyer behind Ukraine’s corruption
Thursday 16 - 19:27by Oleg Karpov
Maka Angola and Rafael Marques should have nothing to hide from Angola’s NGO ref
Saturday 11 - 17:22by Celia Perron
Greece will enter maybe finally the European Union this weekend …
Friday 10 - 22:32by laurentgantner
Get to Know Mirco de Jesus Martins
Thursday 9 - 23:40by FergusTes
Oxi Means NO... or at least it should
Sunday 5 - 22:26by Daniel Patrick Welch
Sunday 5 - 13:06by Roberto Ferrario
The Greek Tragedy. The Antigones against Creon
Saturday 4 - 10:37by InformationGuerrilla
Friday 3 - 15:26by Government Snitch
Greece - The Time of Refusal
Thursday 2 - 17:05by InfoAut
Valle de San Quintín labourers: a reflection of shame and demands for justice
Monday 29 - 21:16by Guillermo Castillo Ramírez
Civil unrest in America is due
Saturday 27 - 16:31by Willam Morgan
The Doha Goals Forum against discriminations
Friday 26 - 23:29by Pierce Durdan
The Evolution of Revolution
Thursday 25 - 17:06by Timbre Wolf
Young Entrepreneurs Doing Sustainable Business in Angola
Tuesday 23 - 17:26by Enrique Ramires
Taxation Without Representation—Déjà vu
Sunday 7 - 18:15by William John Cox
The specter of 1968 in Baltimore
Sunday 7 - 12:18by YOUSUF AL-BULUSHI
Regional Elections in Italy mark a stop for Renzi’s neoliberal project
Sunday 7 - 11:05by InfoAut
. . . And this leads us to the corporation’s “Most Threatening Man.”
Sunday 7 - 03:10by Timbre Wolf
How Mirco de Jesus Martins Plans to Help Angola
Thursday 4 - 22:52by Fred Gatling
TSA can steal my frying pan but they can’t find your goddamn bomb.
Tuesday 2 - 09:32by Timbre Wolf
Solidarity w/ Goldsmiths Students’ Union Officer Facing Persecution
Sunday 31 - 19:00by I.W.W. - Departments and Unions
Why Are Exchange-Traded Funds Preparing For A ‘Liquidity Crisis’ ....
Friday 15 - 16:25by Michael Snyder
Multiple and inter-dependent struggles for a Europe of communards
Thursday 7 - 14:58by Common Political Space (Italian social centers)
The Power and Symbolism of Voting
Thursday 7 - 13:30by William John Cox
Not everyone likes Expo
Monday 4 - 11:13by InfoAut
A Terrible Beauty
Thursday 30 - 23:34by Daniel Patrick Welch