Image courtesy: Master Sgt. James Frank
To remember, you need to notice in the first place. With the exception of Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama on September 15, the national media has almost completely ignored the sacrifices of our troops and their families since the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
With an e-mail inbox tragically filled with casualty notices from the Department of Defense, I decided to take a look at the websites of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC early Tuesday morning in the hopes of finding more information about the war in Afghanistan. While scanning the top story sections of all three news websites, I found exactly one article about combat operations in Afghanistan -- a Fox News article about an attack warning alarm at the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
As American troops perform a great service to our nation, journalists at national TV networks and newspapers continue to do this country a great disservice by ignoring our true heroes. As the ten year anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan draws closer, on the heels of August 2011, which was the conflict's deadliest month, there is no valid excuse for downplaying the sacrifices of these brave warriors and their brothers and sisters in arms.
Sgt. 1st Class Danial Adams, 35, Portland, Oregon
Sgt. Rodolfo Rodriguez Jr., 26, Pharr, Texas
Cpl. Michael Dutcher, 22, Asheville, North Carolina
Sgt. Mycal Prince, 28, Minco, Oklahoma
Staff Sgt. Michael Hosey, 27, Birmingham, Alabama
Sgt. Garrick Eppinger Jr., 25, Appleton, Wisconsin
Spc. Chazray Clark, 24, Ecorse, Michigan
From the crisp air of the pacific northwest to the majestic mountains of western North Carolina, the Adams, Rodriguez, Dutcher, Prince, Hosey, Eppinger, and Clark families are in deep mourning. As national media outlets look the other way, our eyes are fixed squarely on the loved ones of these fallen heroes. We have noticed your sacrifices.
In the days, weeks, and months ahead The Unknown Soldiers blog will redouble its efforts to spotlight those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. With the press delinquent in its solemn duty to report on wars that directly impact our daily lives, the mission to tell the stories of remarkable families like the Matteonis continues with renewed vigor.
I spoke with Sgt. Dakota Meyer by phone on August 15, one month before he received the Medal of Honor at the White House. While our conversation was brief, I can say without a shred of doubt that this brave American patriot, who spent some of his life's best years serving in the Marines, would agree that there are thousands upon thousands of genuine heroes in the military who are never awarded medals.
Every single day, Sgt. Meyer wears two bracelets honoring the memory of the four fallen troops he dragged out of a chaotic eastern Afghanistan battle: 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson Jr., and Petty Officer 3rd Class James Layton. As he retreats to a farm in Kentucky, Meyer will always remember these men.
While our arms are not long enough to wear bracelets honoring each fallen hero of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our hearts are certainly equipped to carry their legacies.
Freedom is not an accident. It is earned and preserved by men and women willing to fight. Today and every day, we will remember them.
Image courtesy: Sgt. James Shea
Note: After this post was written, news of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani's assassination was reported by national media outlets. As of 11:27 a.m. EDT, stories about the killing appeared in top story sections of the Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC websites.