Friday, June 04, 2010

Reprehensible Conduct.

X posted at Left Face

Today, on Facebook, I clicked on a link to this story. The story of a family, at the worst time of their life, witnessing the true callousness of the American traveling public. The story of the family of Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, who had flown to the East Coast to welcome the body of their loved one at Dover. The story of the family who were trying to get home, to bury that 24 year old, a newly wed, who had been killed in Afghanistan. The story of the truly reprehensible conduct of a group of travelers, who sat in silence when asked to give up their seats so they could get home. The story of the ground crew that had to beg, with tears in their voices, for 3 more people to give up their seats so the 6 members of the family, standing in front of them all with their grief apparent, could get home.

I should, I suppose, be used to this by now. Eight years into two wars, with reports of "compassion fatigue", with comments to letters to the editor, or articles in magazines, that tell military families to just shut up, suck it up, quit whining, stop expecting everything for free, I should expect that the "others" won't do the right thing in that situation. After all, I just read a retired military officer in a respected military group publication, say just that!

But this. This horrified me, and I don't understand the people that could sit in silence and actually LOOK at the grieving family, who had to endure the stares and sliding sideways glances. HOW? HOW do Americans NOT stand up en masse and volunteer? The author, Colleen Getz, tried to excuse the other passengers, saying they were caught off guard. Off Guard? Do Americans need to be prepared to do the right thing? Are we so consumed with our own lives, so inured to the pain going on in front of us, that we just refuse to react to it?

I talked to my husband about it, and he gave me that look, and said "they don't WANT to know. They don't want to see it, they don't care anymore."

I guess the flag waving is over, the "support the troops" yellow ribbons on the backs of cars have faded into pale cream with unreadable faint letters, the flags on the houses have become tatty and shredded and been replaced with butterfly banners - at least for them. The them that could sit and stare at that family, stone faced, and refuse to give up their seats; the them that get angry when another funeral procession ties up traffic; the them that want to know why so much money is being spent on military health care, or get angry about subsidized child care. But we , the One Percenters, WE understand. We are tired too, but I know that each and every one of us would have given up our seats. Right? I sure hope I'm right.

LAW

9 comments:

Sara said...

This makes me sick. Even on the most stressful day of my life, I wouldn't hesitate. As long as my husband is still alive and well, what consequence is it to me if I have to wait a day to get home? The airlines take care of you anyhow. Jerks.

annoyed army wife said...

I wish I could say I was completely shocked by this story, but sadly I can't. I wasn't shocked just disgusted. I just can't understand what those people were thinking. I hope they eventually realized what their actions (or lack thereof) were saying. I hope it made them sick.

The LT's Wifey said...

Gladly, with pride in my heart would I give up my seat. How sad that Americans, any American cannot look a family of a fallen Soldier in the eye and say thank you in whatever way they need it. Thanks for the eye opening blog.

Amber said...

I reposted. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This makes my heart sad.

liberal army wife said...

I was reading about this young man. He lived in the same town we did in Florida. I didn't know him, but this one percent world of ours is so very small.

Kayla Sue said...

This is outrageous. People are sinking to a new low. :(

The Mrs. said...

How can this be? How are their people this callus out there?

shame that karma is a bitch...

potandkettle said...

Had the L family been traveling as a unit, there would have been 3 seats given up before one of us could have even batted an eye.

People tend to not realize the importance of something until it's their turn to walk that path and then they are stunned when no one turns a caring eye at them.

Shameful.

Ann M. said...

I hope that one day, the people who wouldn't give up their seats without good reason for it need assistance from strangers. I hope that they get it, and it reminds them of this moment when they stared those people in the face and did NOTHING. I hope they finally feel ashamed for what they did.

I cannot imagine just sitting there and not giving up my seat--I can't imagine having the power to make one tiny gesture help ease this difficult journey for those people and not doing it.