The following is a guest post from Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger, a friend and a Blue Star Dad:
Why Condolence Letters Matter
Let me take a second, as a military parent, and try and explain why I’m so offended by the form/possibly robosigned condolence letters from President Obama.
First, and foremost, our children go to war, we don’t. It’s their sacrifice, not ours. But the pain of loss when they die is very much ours, and the things that might offset it are in no small part tied directly to the perception of shared grief. The idea that others would mourn my son if he had been killed in action matters – it matters a lot – and that is why we respond to the scenes of small towns that turn out en masse to honor a local soldier’s funeral.
I know – very well – from talking to the fathers and widows of those who have died in the last few years that the military demonstrates that care, from the soldier’s peers on up the chain of command.
But the politicians who send them to war also have a duty to those soldier’s memories and to their families, and it is to recognize the loss in a real, personal way.
The President – who in a real sense orders their death – owes the soldiers who die honor. And in a war that has consumed as many soldiers’ lives in totality as two days of fighting in Normandy, there is no excuse for that honor not to be shown.
It’s a simple thing – to take five minutes and think enough about the individual who died to write something to the survivors. To take that time from a busy day to show the survivors that you did think about the dead.
Since Obama has been in office, approximately 1,750 US soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. At 5 minutes a letter, that’s 3 hours a month over the term of Obama’s Presidency. Less time than it takes to play a round of golf.