Chris Hayes “Uncomfortable” Calling Fallen Heroes…I Agree, Sort Of


Excerpted from the Examiner:

On Sunday, the day before Memorial Day 2012, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said he was “uncomfortable” calling America’s fallen military “heroes.”
“I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word [heroes] because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war,” he stammered.
“Um,” he added, “and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”

I agree with Mr. Hayes. Yes I the mother of a man who was killed in action in Iraq agree with him. My son did not become a hero on Feb. 24th 2008 the day he died. He became a hero on Sept. 24th 2005 the day he signed his contract with the US Army to serve this nation during a time of war.

Let me tell you about both those days.

On Feb. 24th 2008 my 19 yr old son was driving on an escort mission. His was the second vehicle in the convoy. His vehicle was hit in the driver side door by an EFP (Explosive Formed Projectile ) Both of his legs were amputated at the pelvis. He was worked on by his medic and would smile and even speak to those who were with him. He tried to reassure them. He would later die in surgery having lost too much blood. My son did not make the choice to be hit that day. It was part of war that we all knew was a possibility. But he bravely maintained his smile and never allowed his spirit to be broken.

Now let me tell you about Sept. 24th 2005 when my 17 yr old son was sitting at his recruiters desk. He had passed his testing and physicals and only had to sign the dotted line. His recruiter put his hand over the line where my son was to sign. “You are joining the United States Army during a time of war. You have chosen a combat infantry MOS and you will be deployed to a combat zone where you may be injured or killed. Do you understand this?” “ Yes Sir” “Do you still want to sign?” “Yes Sir.”

The difference between these two days is my son knowingly stood up and signed to serve this Nation and the greater good on Sept. 24 2005. He knew the risks and he also knew the need to stop the terrorist and to give freedom to those who had none or little. So yes Mr. Hayes to the extent that dying did not make my son or any other man or woman killed in war a hero I agree. They were and are heroes long before the war wounds or kills them. They are heroes when they courageously put themselves at risk by investing their lives in this nation and freedom.

Mr. Hayes.. I feel somewhat sorry for you.. that you have never loved anything or anyone enough to stand up and put your life on the line to fight for it. You see that is what makes a hero.. something you obviously do not understand.

14 Responses to Chris Hayes “Uncomfortable” Calling Fallen Heroes…I Agree, Sort Of

  1. AmericanElephant May 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Thank you and your son from the bottom of my heart. May God bless and rest his soul and bring comfort to you. Your son is MY hero, and this nation’s hero. As is every man and woman who puts their life on the line to protect us. That jackass at msnbc represents everything that is wrong with this country, and you, your son & our military represent everything that is right. God bless, and thank you! 🙂

  2. joann May 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I’m so sorry for the loss (in this life anyway) of your son. To our family, he is indeed a hero as are YOU, his valiant mother! God bless you.

  3. Alex Bean May 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Bravo. I am not a military man, but well I understand that I owe the quality of my life in great part to men like you son. Unlike Chris Hayes, I will spend tomorrow in quiet and respectful reflection. THANK YOU.

  4. Steve Vandenberg May 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    God bless you and your family! I agree, all the men & women that put themselves in harms way to defend freedom should be considered heros!
    It seems that many liberals like Mr Hayes have no concept of things like honor, sacrifice, valor, bravery, loyalty &patriotism. Sad for them really! Thank God there are men & women like your son who see it differently! Thank you for your sacrifice. You too are a hero in my eyes!

  5. Maggie May 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    You are too kind.

  6. SpaceChief May 28, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    As a veteran who served with a couple that never came back, I am going to first: Acknowledge that while I have endured personal loss close to me both before (my mother when she was 31, I was 11) and during my service (two fellow sailors), I can’t fully grasp the experience of the author, Knottie. I can only ever have an inkling, in spite of my own personal experiences.

    Across the street from me lives a young inactive sergeant with 5 lb.s of hardware in his back following surgeries to repair the damage from an IED in Iraq. I employ him a few times each month as my business requires, meanwhile he is pursuing a degree and being what seems to be a great dad to two young girls.

    I see some of the posts here indicate a distaste for liberals that smack of inferring traitorism, unpatriotic character and what-not. Clearly, none had seen the entire segments around the discussion. I certainly thought one of the panelists was quite deluded and she was quite clueless in perspective. Hayes certainly was not, cumbersome a bit, for sure. And the thrust was one that is frankly, really difficult to convey with spirit held properly in all the right ways.

    He was right, his fears regarding perception of war are in fact, well placed. By the way, Hayes is now a father… he does see down the line, he tried to broach a subject and the line was quite disturbed by what I thought was seriously idiotic commentary by the Segura woman. Commentary that reflected a very narrow perception, she definitely should not have been on this panel because her arrogant stance really derailed Hayes early on.

    TO American Elephant, Alex Bean & Steve Vandenburg – NONE of you have a clue, not even close. You come off as pompous and certainly quite misinformed ignorant twits.

    You must be blind to fact, or simply too lazy to find it.

    Maybe, you’re too gutless to accept the real facts, I don’t know but your posts display sheer ignorance and border on VILE in intent and character. You sling mindlessly, accusations without foundation.

    To those I find ignorant of the facts on any subject I say this: There are those of us who were not too lazy to pick up arms, man ships, manage and fly jets and the myriad thousands of other oft unpleasant task associated with the wars that we – the voters, via our representatives – send our military into. Likewise, don’t be so lazy as to speak publicly without fact at hand. Dumb voters = dumb wars = even dumber deaths.

    Now about those pesky facts: Overwhelmingly, Democrats support veteran issues far more readily than the GOP. It is not speculation, it is fact. There are hundreds of Congressional votes over the past thirty years to prove this out. It used to take a fair amount of due diligence and effort to follow these votes, often I was unable to fully ascertain the roll calls in those earlier days in less than a month. Today, complete roll calls are generally available without leaving my desk in less than 48 hours. I follow these things quite closely, in honor of my lost friends, to give voice to veterans who cannot, or are in such disadvantage as to not be able to easily communicate their concerns with confidence. I also provide assistance, from time to time, to the Sarge mentioned above, stuff that just helps the family get along better at moments (their car seriously damaged in an accident not of their cause, for 1 example) and have assisted other veterans over the years since my service as brought to my attention.

    Back to the facts, How do you explain away this Army Times editorial from 2003, ? You can’t the intents and actions described therein are appallingly callous – but hey, that’s what happens with a Bush Admin and GOP congress.. beyond callous, as I say.

    You don’t have to go far to see how the VA has been funded historically. Odd, given the escalation of injury and fatality that occurred through 2006 that there was no urgency to truly bolster the funding for veteran care. You can see the proof, right here: (it is a PDF) In Bush’s 2004 VA appropriations were 62.3 bln, it slowly snuck up a little higher. These were paltry sums given the number of casualties, if you are not aware, there are over 47,000 KNOWN veterans from these two wars who have suffered injuries requiring extended care.

    The first full Obama budget increased the funding by 30 billion dollars nearly as great an increase as the last five years of Bush combined. Two of those years, the democrats forced greater spending by having control of the Congress. Regrettably, the recent influx of the ultra-conservative banner has tempered administration VA budget requests. You can’t make this stuff up. None-the-less, if the admin has its ways, the 2013 budget will take funding up to 140.3 billion.

    See the problem with ignorant voters? They go around thumping their chests while damning those they claim to honor. It’s not like I can make up the Congressional Record myself… the facts ARE the facts

    so – just meander on over now to and get some education. Get for example, the FULL PDF from the last full Congressional session, published the very same day you all were so worried about Juan Williams, October 20th 2010.

    This report is based 100% on official roll calls. It is not subjective. In this term, there were 18 votes in the House and 13 in the Senate

    Count the number of Republicans that scored ‘A’ or above, the answer is 3, against 91 Democrats. I believe there were less than 7 GOP ‘B’. On the far end – of the 154 that got ‘D’ or worse, all but 3 were Republicans. You cannot make this stuff up. Go get yourself clarified.

    While calling liberals evil traitors, the GOP was banging the veterans and many in active duty. While screaming ‘Support the troops’ the GOP was merely, supporting the expenditures for equipment, as Bush man David Chu said ‘veterans are hurtful’ the cost of their care to national security in 2005. Now that you know this, can you still make your incredibly offensive posts about people like me.

    I’m a veteran, but apparently, because I am a liberal, well I am lower than whale dung.

    You can be ignorant, but if you choose to be so, you are in essence, creating undue discomfort for the very people you claim to most support.

    Ignorance of the general orders of the day was not an acceptable excuse for failure in duty aboard my ship. Ignorance on your part, is no excuse for casting really stupid votes, or at least, not ripping your piggish selfish veteran disdaining politician until you get that person (two GOP women got F’s) to understand exactly how it is they have an office to hold.

  7. Scolaighe May 28, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    I can only echo the words of my friend, AmericanElephant, I will remember this article and a courageous son of a courageous mom on Memorial Day.

  8. Fred Jenkins May 28, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I have always struggled for the “right” word or words in this case. Thank you or I appreciate your sacrifice doesn’t sound right but suffice to say having lost my father and uncle to war then serving for 22 years myself, I may be able to understand a small part of what you go through daily and I admire your courage for maintaining this site.
    I don’t feel this is a “left or right/republican or democrat” issue…..although I do believe that some people simply cannot conceive of the courage that it took for your son to volunteer his services for our country when he knew that he would be deployed to combat. While I agree that heroism can be found in the acts of valor found on the battlefield, those acts are typically gut reactions in times of stress where the individual feels little choice but to do what he/she did. To sit at a recruiters desk near his warm comfortable home and family and decide to lay his life on the line……definitely the thing that heroes are made of.
    Although I am certain that you would have your son by your side if given the option, take some solace in the phenomenal job that you did as a parent as your efforts created this hero.
    God Bless
    Fred Jenkins

  9. Dana May 28, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Thank you for this post. I’m a Army veteran, daughter of dual Air Force, married to a soldier, who is a son of a soldier. We take serving very seriously in our home and your words were just what I needed to hear this Memorial Day. I shared the link to your post on my FB because you put it beautifully. Your son is a hero. He willingly risked his life to serve his country, protect his family, for love and patriotism…..

  10. Mychelle May 28, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Steve Vandenberg, I agree with your second sentence, and in that regard I also agree with Mr. Hayes. I think you go too far in your third sentence, however. There are many ways that Americans serve their country and practice honor, sacrifice, valor, bravery, loyalty and patriotism. Sometimes these people are not members of the armed forces per se. I’ve lost friends in the Peace Corps “fighting” for American values. We have many wars to fight in this world as a military force and as a humanitarian force. Wars against disease, poor or no education, famine & badly managed resources. Wars against exploitation of people in modern slavery and sexploitation trades. War against the selfishness of so-called leaders, thugs who abuse their own people and use their wealth for their own enrichment. It’s a monumental task.
    I don’t think Mr. Hayes is denigrating our fallen soldiers. I think he is questioning if their deaths are as meaningful to our leadership and more importantly, to those who choose our leadership, as they should be. Are we asking of our soldiers this cost for the very best reasons. Are we and our leaders on both sides (who are largely made of men and women who have never faced armed conflict), using our military for honorable reasons, or just to make stuff cheaper for the rest of us and profits greater for a few??
    It’s a valid question no matter how uncomfortable it is phrased or makes people.

    Blessing and remembrances to all those who have served our nation and especially to those in the Armed Forces who have given their lives in service, and to my dad, USN, who served away from combat but is no less my hero.

  11. James Owens May 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    When I think of men who fought for our freedom, I think of men like James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner.

  12. Arioch7 May 29, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    My my. Those of you using this post to make partisan political points make my skin crawl.

    Gold Star Mom… you have my deepest gratitude and I pray for your sons safety. Your late son’s memory will NEVER be in vain. I promise you that. I promise you! FOR THE FALLEN!

  13. A Soldier's Mother September 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    You really are too kind – my only thought was “what an IDIOT he is” – you said it so much more eloquently. Yes, so yes. But I would argue that there were other times Micheal showed he was a hero long before that day in 2005…each time he stood for his brothers, each time he was that special son that made you all laugh – all those are part of who he was.

    We have a similar thing here – a question about why Gilad Shalit came back after 5 years of captivity in Gaza and how people were calling him a hero. People said – just because he got captured didn’t make him a hero…but if you look back – he was given a low profile in the army – not high enough to be a combat soldier. He fought the army until they raised his profile – and that made him a hero.

    And, for 5 years he was in Gaza and when he came home, he walked off the helicopter and smiled – and that made him a hero.

    Angelia – your son will always have a special place in my heart. He was a hero long before the day he died and will remain a hero long after that idiot…I can’t even go on…May God bless Micheal’s memory and may you know that so so many of us know him for the hero he is.

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