It Wasn't Just Michael Jackson Who Died

By Steven A. Castleton


On Tuesday, July 7, millions watched the never ending coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial service. For many, the world stopped.

Let me just say that this is not a story that will bash Michael Jackson and call him names. Let us never forget that he was never convicted of a crime and there are many politicians that cannot say that.

My heart genuinely goes out to his three children as I also lost my father when I was three years old.

What I wonder is who noticed that Army 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw was killed in Afghanistan the same day Michael Jackson died. He was fighting in the War on Terrorism. He was keeping us safe. Soldiers like him have made the ultimate sacrifice so that entertainers like Michael Jackson can earn the millions of dollars they do for "entertaining us".

Army 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw was earning less than $5,000.00 per month (including combat pay and benefits) . To put that in further perspective; Johnny Depp recently left a $4,000.00 TIP at a restaurant!

Brian's aunt Martha Gillis wrote a letter to the Washington Post saying about her nephew "He was a search-and-rescue volunteer, an altar boy, a camp counselor. He carried the hopes and dreams of his parents willingly on his shoulders. What more than that did Michael Jackson do or represent that earned him memorial "shrines," while this soldier's death goes unheralded?"

What about memorial "shrines," for the 40 heroic passengers and crew of flight 93 who gave their lives to save countless lives of complete strangers?

Bradshaw's aunt Martha further said, "He had old-fashioned values and believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk. He wasn't much for talking, although he could communicate volumes with a raised eyebrow."

I was watching the news this evening on one of the big 3 networks, and the "teleprompter reader" (I most certainly cannot call him a journalist) again talked about Michael Jacksons funeral, then half heartedly said, "and the bodies of five American servicemen came home today."

Will the city of Los Angeles or the state of California give their families a police escort to the service? Will the city even give a homeless veteran a hot meal? How about a ride to the hospital for a check-up? After the million dollar memorial service paid for with tax dollars in a bankrupt state, that is the very least they can do.

Maybe I am wrong, but our sense of priorities in this country is out of whack.