Tag Archive | "Army Specialist Corey Shea"

The Blood Beneath Our Feet

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Denise Anderson


As of this writing, the mother of a Mansfield, Massachusetts soldier is fighting the U.S. government to be buried, when her time comes, with her only son.


With only a month left on his tour of duty in Iraq, Army Specialist Corey Shea became a fallen hero on November 12th, 2008.  As a veteran, he was interred at the National Cemetery in his home State.  Having died single and childless at the age of 21, Corey’s closest relative is his mother, Denise Anderson.  Denise’s loss is particularly poignant, as she has no spouse and Corey was her only child; in her own words “my heart and soul.”  Devastated by her loss, Ms. Anderson appealed to the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department for the right to be buried with her son.  Although the VAD has approved four similar requests since 2005 from the spouses and children of fallen soldiers, Denise’s appeal met with denial.


Readers so moved may research the government’s official line on this case, which to this writer represents the inanity and inhumanity of red tape.  The worst of it cites the fact that Denise Anderson made her request “in advance of need.”  Translation: Corey’s mother is a living, breathing person, not a corpse in need of a burial site!


As a child, I listened often to my grandfather’s tales of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a leader my granddad had greatly admired for his courage, integrity, and compassion.  As a result of one family’s terrible losses during World War II, FDR forbade the last male child in any American family to be drafted into service.  My grandfather explained that the President had done so to ensure that surnames would live on through future generations.  But, my grandfather added with tears in his eyes, he was sure that FDR had enacted this decree because the man had a heart.


The nearly seven-year-long-and-counting Iraqi conflict did not produce a draft.  When President George W. Bush declared this war, the U.S. military had enough servicemen and servicewomen on hand to fight a battle marketed as necessary to maintain the freedoms of American citizens.  Technically, then, Army Specialist Corey Anderson was not drafted.  But he was the sole male child, indeed the sole progeny, of his mother who is very much alive.  From a moral standpoint, at least, Corey should have never seen action.


The refusal of Denise Anderson’s request is but the most recent example of how dispensable our government views its citizens.  Another example of how it negates FDR’s vision, our nation’s tradition and in fact, our Constitutional principles, of balancing logic with compassion.


I could write a treatise about my political views surrounding this issue, but today, I lack the heart.  I am deeply saddened as well as angered by the disrespect shown by our government to our service people and their parents.  If Denise Anderson had not given birth to Corey, the U.S. military would have been minus one soldier.  To state the obvious, for it needs stating, if not for every mother of every child who makes the decision to enter the armed services, our nation would not have an Army, a Navy, the Marines, the National Guard, the Reserves, and the Coast Guard.  And yet, no respect is shown to the mothers who birth, raise, and ultimately mourn children who honor this country with their very lives.  


The glossy ads running rampant in print media and the rousing commercials promoting enrollment in our military, all blathering about “honor,” are full of what makes the grass grow green.   Honor lives among the rank and file of those who give their blood in war.  But at the highest levels of our government, honor no longer exists.  How can honor exist in a machine that does not value women and children?   Why give our blood to such a callous beast?

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