Whitney and soldiers: Why can’t we honor both?

I first wrote and published much of this element on a friend’s Facebook wall on Feb. 16, just a couple of days before the funeral service for the late Whitney Houston. The friend had posted the picture (above) with the question, “the price of freedom or the price of a CD?” Below is my response.

I’m an Iraq veteran. And I don’t mind people mourning the loss of Whitney Houston. We’re fortunate to be in a country where the general population can just about forget there’s a war going on.

Are there drawbacks to that? Sure. It does tend to put military servicemembers’ sacrifices on the back burner, to be forgotten by many. That doesn’t make those sacrifices less noble.

As for Whitney Houston. I feel we’re fortunate to live in a country that can spotlight and place a high value on the special talents of many, whether it’s the comedy of Bill Cosby or Robin Williams, the music of Whitney Houston or Bruce Springstreen, the racing abilities of Tony Stewart or the athletic skills of (insert favorite pro athlete superhero name here).

The majority of the American population care more, generally speaking, about the musicians, comedians, race car drivers and athletes because they impact our lives in a known manner on a very regular basis. We propose marriage to song or at special events. We “remember when” we sat in the bleachers of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to watch Eddie Murray or Cal Ripken Jr. in their prime, or as Ichiro roamed right field at Safeco Field in Seattle. Maybe we caught a foul ball, a memorial token of a great family outing.

Fortunately, we don’t have to propose (normally) or watch sports in a war zone. And we’ve got our wonderful military service members to thank for that.

I feel that by decreasing the value of talent by Whitney, Tony, Bill or Robin and others, we decrease the value of our military members’ sacrifices.

We’re touched more, generally, but the former; but that is possible in large part because the latter make sure the fight doesn’t come to America.

Why can’t we celebrate both?

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