While the world stood mesmerized by Charlie Sheen's very public meltdown, families around the United States were receiving the remains of service members who had died in combat operations in Afghanistan. Sheen was on his wacky media tour while these families were preparing to say good-bye to people who had given their life in service to our nation. Charlie Sheen's military references didn't go unnoticed by those in the military community, or anyone else for that matter. Because what would an I'm Charlie Sheen and I'm a Badass rant be without a few military references thrown in? We're in big trouble if Tom Cruise or Matt Damon ever go on a vicious bender....
Apparently, a facebook and twitter posting which addressed the misplaced focus of the media went viral. The posting read:
"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."Wayne Drash of CNN saw the facebook posting and was curious. Who were these men who had died? What were they like? What do their families think about the Charlie Sheen Show? He aimed to find out.
When a friend of mine posted the message on her Facebook page, it was a sobering reminder of the news media’s failings of covering the Afghanistan war. I kept returning to the names of the four soldiers. Who were these men? What’s their story?Go on. Read about the lives of these four heroes, and look at their beautiful faces. But I warn you, and it should come as no surprise, some of the comments will turn your stomach. In addition to the four mentioned above, there were more:
I started by calling the father of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt (pronounced WILL-fort) in Rosemount, Minnesota.
“I think it’s spot on,” Jeff Wilfahrt said of the viral post.
His 31-year-old son was killed while on foot patrol outside Kandahar on February 27, around the same day the Sheen media blitz kicked into high gear.
“From the Charlie Sheens to Lindsay Lohans, who are these people and what good have they done in society?” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “What are we collectively doing as a society? How do you wake people up?
“In part, sir,” he said, “I blame the press.”
Since February 26, when the Sheen story began dominating headlines, at least 13 U.S. troops have died in support of the Afghanistan war. Besides the four honored in the Facebook post, seven others were Sgt. Kristopher Gould, 25; Spc Christopher Stark, 22; Pfc. David Fahey, 23; Spc. Jason Weaver, 22; Cpl. Jordan Stanton, 20; Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 31; and Pfc. Kalin Johnson, 19.Drash closes with this:
As I looked at the names of those who’ve died in the last two weeks, I thought about my phone conversation with Jeff Wilfahrt.We miss him, too.
“Get this on the front headlines,” he said, “and make people aware of what’s going on.
“That’s what I’d do if I was king. But I'm just an unemployed 58-year-old man in Minnesota who misses his son.”
Sometimes the world is upside-down. And that's the only appropriate F-18 reference I can think of with respect to the Charlie Sheen circus....