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"Death Comes Knocking"--great Memorial Day article in The Week

Old 05-23-08, 04:57 PM
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"Death Comes Knocking"--great Memorial Day article in The Week

Don't know if this is the right forum, but there's a really moving two-page article in "The Last Word" segment in the back of the current issue of The Week. It's excerpted from Jim Sheeler's book "Final Salute". I had to put it down at least three times to wipe the tears before continuing reading.

The article is about Maj. Steve Beck, whose job it is to inform loved ones when a Marine has been killed. It's an incredibly moving piece regardless of which side of the political spectrum you're on.

In two pages, the author is able to capture so many aspects of the event: the shock of the widows/parents and the anger directed at the bearer of bad news and the compassion of the Marines who make every effort to meet the wishes of the family (sometimes abandoning protocol and going far beyond what the regulations require). Above all, it balances the grief & pain of the family with the struggle of the casualty assistance calls officer to maintain professionalism while reaching out in the most humanitarian ways.

The article follows one such call to a pregnant wife and the five days that follow. During this time, Maj. Beck comforts the family & guides them through the process of laying to rest their beloved husband/son, who was killed when a booby-trapped door exploded (the force was so great that it tore an arm & leg off the soldier BEHIND the deceased). Maj. Beck's instructions to the honor guard regarding showing the utmost respect for their fallen comrade while being there in whatever way the family needs, and the attention to detail (the 'slow salute' not taught in basic) demonstrates how deeply he cares. His gentleness in helping the widow come to terms with the final viewing of the shrouded body of her husband is truly heartbreaking.

Highly recommended reading.
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Old 05-26-08, 07:52 AM
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Speaking of Memorial Day - anyone notice what's conspicuously absent from google.com -- ie. any mention of it.

Zombie's 2007 article is apparently still true: http://www.zombietime.com/google_memorial_day_logo/
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Old 05-26-08, 08:18 AM
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Just shows that even Google can be inferior in some ways. Being in America, you'd think they would show a little respect.

If they were HQ'ed outside the US, I'd totally understand. But being based inside the US, taking advantage of freedoms which were fought for to create Google, and not recognizing these facts, is rather naive and rude.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:30 AM
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If anything, that article reinforces Google's point. Every example they give is tacky. In today's society, though, I suppose empty celebration is more important than genuine reflection.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:52 AM
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Apparently Google thinks Valentine's Day and the 15 Earth Days are more important than Memorial Day.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
If anything, that article reinforces Google's point. Every example they give is tacky. In today's society, though, I suppose empty celebration is more important than genuine reflection.
Oh dogshit. Google has no problem coming up with a design for ANZAC Day, Canadian Remembrance Day and British Remembrance Day. The "fact" that they can't come up with something respectful for Memorial Day is pure and unadulterated crap.

Fucking hippies.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
Oh dogshit. Google has no problem coming up with a design for ANZAC Day, Canadian Remembrance Day and British Remembrance Day. The "fact" that they can't come up with something respectful for Memorial Day is pure and unadulterated crap.

Fucking hippies.
Right. The only logical, non-tinfoil hat answer is that Google hates America.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Right. The only logical, non-tinfoil hat answer is that Google hates America.

Sorry to have put paid to their pathetic excuse. They can do all the other Memorial Days, but somehow they are graphically challenged to do one for the US Memorial Day.

Last edited by crazyronin; 05-26-08 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Right. The only logical, non-tinfoil hat answer is that Google hates America.
BTW, nice straw man. Take you long to build?
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Old 05-26-08, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
BTW, nice straw man. Take you long to build?
Oh, for the love of god. Did you even read the linked article? From the L.A. Times interview:

Originally Posted by zombie
There was no special Google logo on July 20th to mark mankind’s first landing on the moon. Google did not commemorate Mariner 4, the first spacecraft to explore another planet, nor Pioneer 10, the first human object to exit our solar system into the universe beyond. And so on. Why not? Because those were American achievements. Or at least it would seem that was Google’s motivation.
Now, to most sentient folks, the "hates America" bit is a political meme used to mock conspiracy theorists such as "Zombie."

This is about as asinine as the O'Reilly "war on Christmas" stuff. You've assumed a conclusion and are searching for evidence to support it, instead of considering any number of alternate possibilities.

Take a look at the alternate logos submitted to Zombie's web site. They are ugly, crass, and perfect for today's political culture. They don't help "celebrate" or "commemorate" anything.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:38 AM
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A friend emailed this to me:

To Live as Bravely as They Died

Unforgettable, challenging truths from the 1948 Memorial Day address at Long Meadow, Massachusetts.

By General Omar N. Bradley

…It is easy for us who are living to honor the sacrifices of those who are dead. For it helps us to assuage the guilt we should feel in their presence.

Wars can be prevented just as surely as they are provoked, and therefore we who fail to prevent them share in guilt for the dead…For every man in whom war has inspired sacrifice, courage and love, there are many more whom it has degraded with brutality, callousness and greed.
Why is it men cannot live as bravely as they die?

While the American people have within themselves the moral strength, the power and wisdom to marshal their forces against aggression in whatever form it takes…we cannot feign innocence through indifference or neglect of struggles that bring on wars….Non-involvement in peace means certain involvement in war.

Either we shall employ our strength, power and conscience boldly and righteously in defense of human dignity and freedom, or we shall waste these reserves for peace and default to the forces that breed new wars.

(Each soldier) we bury is partly the victim of your folly and the folly of all peace-loving peoples who turn their backs on the ills of the world.
Secure in distant and peaceful towns…clinging to comforts, refusing risks, seeking refuge in words, we recanted power and conscience to side with those who sought peace at any price. Too late we discovered the price was too high; and to keep freedom we paid in the bodies of our young sons….

Now new weapons have made the risk of war a suicidal hazard….Modern war visits destruction on the victor and the vanquished alike. Our only complete assurance of surviving World War III is to halt it before it starts….It must never again be said of the American people: Once more we won a war; once more we lost a peace. If we do, we shall doom our children to a struggle that will take their lives….Freedom when threatened anywhere is at once threatened everywhere.

The American people must demonstrate conclusively to all other peoples of the world that democracy not only guarantees man’s human freedom, but that it guarantees his economic dignity and progress as well. To practice freedom and make it work, we must cherish the individual, we must provide him the opportunities for reward, and impress upon him the responsibilities a free man bears to the society in which he lives.

...We have too many men of science; too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the sermon on the Mount.

Man is stumbling blindly through a spiritual darkness while toying with the precarious secrets of life and death. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. This is our twentieth century’s claim to distinction and to progress!

Democracy can withstand ideological attacks if democracy will provide earnestly and liberally for the welfare of its people. To defend democracy against attack, men must value freedom. To value freedom, they must benefit by it in happy and more secure lives for their wives and children.
Good citizenship is the start of a working democracy. And good citizenship begins at home…from such simple beginnings do we create better communities, better states, a better nation and eventually, we hope, a better world.

General Omar Nelson Bradley's distinguished career included serving as a 5-star general, Army Chief of Staff and two-time Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was known as "The Soldier's General" for his compassion and caring of his men.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair

Take a look at the alternate logos submitted to Zombie's web site. They are ugly, crass, and perfect for today's political culture. They don't help "celebrate" or "commemorate" anything.
Good. Here's ten minutes work in GIMP. That includes finding the images.



That idea must be too tough for the graphic wizards at Google.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:51 AM
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I don't suppose anyone has the article the OP is mentioning? It sounds good, I have no interest in getting a sub to the magazine.

And yeah, count me in on those who finds Google's non-action a bit weird.
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Old 05-26-08, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Oh, for the love of god. Did you even read the linked article? From the L.A. Times interview:
You didn't quote the article, you quoted my post. Point to the part of my post where I state that "Google hates America".

Like I said: Nice straw man. Take you long to build?

(repeat as needed.)
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Old 05-26-08, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
You didn't quote the article, you quoted my post. Point to the part of my post where I state that "Google hates America".

Like I said: Nice straw man. Take you long to build?

(repeat as needed.)
This is not a straw man. My building a straw man would necessitate your actually having an argument, which you do not. I quoted your post as an example of flag-waving histrionics.

The position of "Zombie" is a tamer version of "_______ hates America" based on some arbitrary and subjective distinction. Perhaps if Google had engaged in chest-thumping hee-hawing like every proud American, they would be deemed sufficiently patriotic.

Try this on for size, if you want to form a coherent argument. "Google did not create a special logo for Memorial Day because ________________." Calling them "fucking hippies" leads one to believe that you are firmly in the "war on Christmas" camp.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:27 AM
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It's not even remotely important whether or not Google creates an image for this day. I can't believe you guys are actually debating this.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Try this on for size, if you want to form a coherent argument. "Google did not create a special logo for Memorial Day because ________________." Calling them "fucking hippies" leads one to believe that you are firmly in the "war on Christmas" camp.
http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showpost.ph...89&postcount=9

repeat as needed

If you want I understand the strawman arguments of "Geocentrism and "flat Earthism" are still available.

abrg923: straw man arguments aside, I am not arguing that Google should do anything. My point is that Google's reason for not doing it:
Originally Posted by Google
If we were to commemorate this holiday, we'd want to express reverence; however, as Google's special logos tend to be lighthearted in nature, this would be a particularly challenging design. We wouldn't want to create a graphic that could be interpreted as disrespectful in any way.
is a big steaming pile of dog squeeze.

Last edited by crazyronin; 05-26-08 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 05-26-08, 01:19 PM
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wewantflair,

Google doesn't HATE AMERICA. At least I'm not going to say it does. I don't think anyone else did either, did they?

It just would be nice if they would recognize Americans on one of our most important holidays of the year.

Can you really disagree with this?

They are free to do what they want. Do they not realize this freedom to do what they want, is directly connected to wars several decades ago, which kept a certain government from taking over the world.

Japan attacked us. Hitler wanted to expand his vision beyond the seas if successful in Europe. Point is, Google would've had a hell of a time running a company as liberal as they are, with jack-booted government officials.

Going further back to the Civil War, maybe Google can agree with this one. Half of this nation fought for the right of Blacks to be human beings. Much sacrifice was made.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 05-26-08 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 05-27-08, 08:35 AM
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Google helped me find this...

Death comes knocking

Every door is different. Some are ornately hand-carved hardwood, some are hollow tin. Some are protected by elaborate security systems, some by flapping screens. The doors are all that stand between a family and the message.

For Maj. Steve Beck, it starts with a knock or a ring of the doorbell—a simple act, really, with the power to shatter a soul.

Five years ago, the then 40-year-old Marine officer was catapulted into a duty he never trained for, an assignment that starts with a long walk to a stranger’s porch and an outstretched hand sheathed in a soft white glove.

While every door is different, the scenes inside are almost always the same. “The curtains pull away. They come to the door. And they know. They always know,” Beck says. “You can almost see the blood run out of their body and their heart hit the floor. It’s not the blood as much as their soul. Something sinks. I’ve never seen that except when someone dies. And I’ve seen a lot of death.

“They’re falling—either literally or figuratively—and you have to catch them. In this business, I can’t save his life. All I can do is catch the family while they’re falling.”

On a blue-sky Labor Day weekend in a new, upscale residential neighborhood, a middle-aged man mowed his yard as a silver SUV ambled down the street past manicured lawns and half-finished homes. In a place filled with soccer moms and SUVs, the Suburban with government plates didn’t stick out. The two men inside did.

Minutes before, Maj. Beck and Navy chaplain Jim Chapman had parked briefly outside the neighborhood and closed their eyes in prayer. Chapman asked for “words that will bring the family peace.” At the time, Beck didn’t know what those words would be. He never does.

When Beck’s phone rings with news of a Marine’s death, he always feels the pressure of the clock. Once the call is received, the goal for notification is four hours. Troops in the battle zone often have access to e-mail and satellite telephones now, so when a service member dies, the area is placed under “River City,” or R.C. When an area goes R.C., all communication back home is shut off to keep rumors from reaching the family before the notification officers arrive. Still, Beck knew that bad news runs like water downhill, creating its own path. “As soon as we receive the call,” he says, “we are racing the electron.”

When the knock came on this occasion, Katherine Cathey was napping in a bedroom in the home of her mother and stepfather. Her stepfather saw the Marines first. “We’re here for Katherine,” Beck said quietly. “Oh, no,” Vic Leonard said.

At first Katherine’s mother, Vicki Leonard, thought it was a salesman. Then she saw her husband walking backward and the two men in uniform. “Oh, no,” she said, and then, “She’s pregnant!”

Vic asked his wife to wake Katherine. Vicki shook her head. She couldn’t speak.

Katherine could hear her mother crying—no, wailing—when her stepfather opened the bedroom door.

“What’s going on?” Katherine asked.

“It’s not good. Come with me,” he said.

Katherine’s screams began as soon as she saw the uniforms.

Two Marines are required for each death notification, not just for emotional support, but for each other’s protection. At the beginning of the war in Iraq, one of the Marines from Beck’s unit was slapped by a furious mother. In 2004, a distraught father in Florida set fire to a van that carried the Marines sent to notify him.

The reaction was different on this day. Katherine ran to the back of the living room and collapsed on the floor, holding her pregnant stomach. Finally, she stood, but she still couldn’t speak. As the chaplain and the major remained on their feet, she glared at them. It was a stare the major had seen before. “Maybe that’s what hurts me the most,” Beck says. “That because I’m standing in front of them, they’re feeling as bad as they’re ever going to feel.”

From the book Final Salute by Jim Sheeler. ©2008 by Jim Sheeler.
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Old 05-27-08, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
Google helped me find this...
Yahoo could have done it more patriotically
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Old 05-27-08, 09:25 AM
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when i was in the army this was an assigned duty that people would get sometimes in case a loved one died in an accident. you had to be on call 24 hours a day and the family of the deceased could call you anytime day or night even if just to talk. and you had to be available to answer
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Old 05-27-08, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
you had to be on call 24 hours a day and the family of the deceased could call you anytime day or night even if just to talk. and you had to be available to answer


I always like how the military (as individuals) takes care of their own, even if they always don't as an institution.
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Old 05-27-08, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by abrg923
It's not even remotely important whether or not Google creates an image for this day. I can't believe you guys are actually debating this.
Some people just look for silly shit to get offended and upset over.

Remember when liberal political correctness was all the rage?

The worm has certainly turned in the other direction in the past few years.
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Old 05-29-08, 08:51 AM
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Well at least Google is recognizing the 55th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest! I would have boycotted them forever had they forgotten.
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Old 05-29-08, 03:31 PM
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Veteran's Day - November 11, 2007
(first Google holiday logo observance)

If Google can honor Veteran's Day, as they did in 2007 with a respectful graphic, then surely they could do the same for Memorial Day.

http://www.google.com/holidaylogos.html
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