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"That burns" (UPDATED)

Family members of a fallen hero are stung by the callousness of politicians, to include that of our Commander-in-Chief:

The parents of a Yelm soldier killed in Afghanistan earlier this month have received cards from friends and strangers expressing condolences, and they're grateful for the support.

"As a father of someone killed, it is overwhelming," said Lt. Col. Patrick Collins (Ret.). His son, Sgt. Sean Collins, was buried Wednesday at the Tahoma National Cemetery.

Among that outpouring of empathy, two politicians inadvertently stung the family.

One slight came in a letter of condolences the family received from the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

At first, the Collins family appreciated that Cantwell had taken the time to send a letter acknowledging their son's sacrifice.

But the letter misidentified the slain soldier in its last paragraph, which reads:

"Again, please accept my warmest condolences. May your memories of Bryn and the knowledge that he made a positive impact on the lives of so many serve as a source of comfort to you during this time of sorrow."

The letter was dated Dec. 20 and delivered to Sean Collins' mother, Linda Collins of Yelm. The error conveyed to the family that Cantwell had sent a form letter.

"They couldn't even proofread it," she said. "I'm sure if her son had died, she would've at least wanted his name spelled correctly."

"That's just sloppy staff work, that's an embarrassment," Patrick Collins said. He has not yet called Cantwell's office to ask for an apology. 

...

The other slight came when Patrick Collins called the White House and asked to have President Obama call his ex-wife, Linda, to talk about their son.

He was told that Obama did not regularly make phone calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

Later, Patrick Collins read a story about Obama's phone call to Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie. Obama reportedly praised Lurie for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance to play football after serving time in prison for running a dog fighting ring.

"That burns," Patrick Collins said Thursday.

"Any soldier that gets killed in action, you'd think the president would be calling someone in the family. There's no politics in it. His predecessor did it," Collins said.

His predecessor held a higher view of the sacrificial service of our military members Mr. Collins.  Something that's becoming more obvious as time passes.

UPDATE: Edward Sisson in the comments brings us a relevant note:

The soldier's father posted a comment in the thread for the article that needs wider distribution. Since he was responding to an earlier comment from "first lefty," I start with the relevant parts of that:

"First Lefty: Sorry folks. I passed along my consolences, but it was a choice for the family to go to the press about a form letter and a complaint about who the President calls about what. ...
"It's very unfortunate that the letter was wrong, but that bell can't be unrung. I'm sure that a call to the Senator's office would have gotten a gracious apology, but no.....let's go to the press and make it a political issue.
"As to the President, who he calls and why is his business. If he took the time to call every parent of every American who died in service to country, he'd probably have little time to do anything else - which would be your next gripe."

Response (in full) from the soldier's father:

"First_Lefty: Well, your name kind of says it all. I'd like to set the record straight, but first I'd like to thank you for your condolences. You should be thankful. A better man than you just died defending your right to express your opinion.

"There was an error in the original article, I never called the White House - I have no desire to get a call from the President. I did make a request for the President to call my ex-wife. I believe it is something that should be done. If GEN Petraeus can take time to write a personal note, if my son's Company Commander can find time to make a phone call - all while fighting a war; if the Governor of Washington can find time to send personal condolences, then yes the President should be able to find time. Ultimately, it's not even a question of time. I would understand the President saying that it is not his policy, that the Office of the President cannot get involved in every soldier's death. But that's not what was said. The response we were given was that he is too busy to fit it into his schedule. That's what makes bogus calls to the President of the Eagles so galling (incidentally, yeah, Michael Vick has had a tremendous year ... playing nothing but a game).

"As far as Senator Cantwell, sending a form letter is "okay", even nice. Having such a poor quality control, especially on a letter to a Mother who has lost her son at Christmas is just pathetic.

"Is this political (?), maybe in your eyes. However we actually waited because we knew someone like you would make this accusation. When we told the reporter, it was in response to a question. In fact, we purposely told him that we didn't want to make this about politics. It may come as a surprise to you, but calling the Senator's office while we were grieving the loss of our son wasn't high on our priority list. Taking care of our son's three siblings and arranging for a burial somehow rated higher in importance.

"Finally, to answer your first suggestion, that we should focus our anger on those who sent him to war - that would be Mr. Obama. My son was a member of the 101st Airborne. They are in Kandahar Province as a part of the surge ordered by the President almost a year ago. Not only did I agree with that decision by the President, making it something I would never blame him for, I have no doubt that your political persuasion would have enabled you to put an equally feeble comment in response to that if I had mentioned it.

"You sir are a sad excuse for a man. It almost makes me sad to think I spent 28 years, and my son sacrificed his life, defending your right to be as misguided as you are ... yet that is where we are today."


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Comments (18)

1) obama does give a damn a... (Below threshold)
jim m:

1) obama does give a damn about the military.

2) There is nothing to be gained politically for him by consoling the families of the military who give their lives for our country.

3) He is far more interested in doing something that will attract media attention and will further promotion of minority favoritism. If Michael Vick were white the phone call would never have been made. I am not hearing about any call to the Steelers about giving Ben Rothlesburger the benefit of the doubt and a second chance.

When his predecessor came t... (Below threshold)
clear mind:

When his predecessor came to a city, he invited the families of all fallen heroes to a private meeting and he stayed until he had talked to them all and thanked them for the fallen heroes service and sacrifice and the families' losses.

As a volunteer driver in a presidential motorcade (first vehicle behind the SS assault SUV) I witnessed it personally. In our case, we departed the location more than 1 1/2 hours later than expected, and a part of the plan had been to meet with the families and it had been factored into the schedule. We were told by the SS that he would not leave until he had taken as much tie with each family as the family needed, not as much time as he wanted.

Ever expect the current POTUS to do that? Hell No!

The soldier's father posted... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson:

The soldier's father posted a comment in the thread for the article that needs wider distribution. Since he was responding to an earlier comment from "first lefty," I start with the relevant parts of that:

"First Lefty: Sorry folks. I passed along my consolences, but it was a choice for the family to go to the press about a form letter and a complaint about who the President calls about what. ...
"It's very unfortunate that the letter was wrong, but that bell can't be unrung. I'm sure that a call to the Senator's office would have gotten a gracious apology, but no.....let's go to the press and make it a political issue.
"As to the President, who he calls and why is his business. If he took the time to call every parent of every American who died in service to country, he'd probably have little time to do anything else - which would be your next gripe."

Response (in full) from the soldier's father:

"First_Lefty: Well, your name kind of says it all. I'd like to set the record straight, but first I'd like to thank you for your condolences. You should be thankful. A better man than you just died defending your right to express your opinion.

"There was an error in the original article, I never called the White House - I have no desire to get a call from the President. I did make a request for the President to call my ex-wife. I believe it is something that should be done. If GEN Petraeus can take time to write a personal note, if my son's Company Commander can find time to make a phone call - all while fighting a war; if the Governor of Washington can find time to send personal condolences, then yes the President should be able to find time. Ultimately, it's not even a question of time. I would understand the President saying that it is not his policy, that the Office of the President cannot get involved in every soldier's death. But that's not what was said. The response we were given was that he is too busy to fit it into his schedule. That's what makes bogus calls to the President of the Eagles so galling (incidentally, yeah, Michael Vick has had a tremendous year ... playing nothing but a game).

"As far as Senator Cantwell, sending a form letter is "okay", even nice. Having such a poor quality control, especially on a letter to a Mother who has lost her son at Christmas is just pathetic.

"Is this political (?), maybe in your eyes. However we actually waited because we knew someone like you would make this accusation. When we told the reporter, it was in response to a question. In fact, we purposely told him that we didn't want to make this about politics. It may come as a surprise to you, but calling the Senator's office while we were grieving the loss of our son wasn't high on our priority list. Taking care of our son's three siblings and arranging for a burial somehow rated higher in importance.

"Finally, to answer your first suggestion, that we should focus our anger on those who sent him to war - that would be Mr. Obama. My son was a member of the 101st Airborne. They are in Kandahar Province as a part of the surge ordered by the President almost a year ago. Not only did I agree with that decision by the President, making it something I would never blame him for, I have no doubt that your political persuasion would have enabled you to put an equally feeble comment in response to that if I had mentioned it.

"You sir are a sad excuse for a man. It almost makes me sad to think I spent 28 years, and my son sacrificed his life, defending your right to be as misguided as you are ... yet that is where we are today."

Barry cant be bothered as i... (Below threshold)
914:

Barry cant be bothered as it likely interfere's with tee times and such.

I am sure that calling the ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

I am sure that calling the parents of fallen soldiers would interfere with his 90th or so round of golf over the past 2 years.

There have been about 1400 US deaths in Afghanistan in the past 2 years.

Obama has played about that many holes of golf. Maybe he should put down the golf club and pick up a telephone. After all which is more important.

"As to the President, who h... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"As to the President, who he calls and why is his business. If he took the time to call every parent of every American who died in service to country, he'd probably have little time to do anything else - which would be your next gripe."

In all seriousness, the anonymous "First Lefty" as cited by Mr Sisson would have been more accurate by substituting the name Obama for the term President. Now Obama is indeed the President but more generally speaking,I must believe that if this request had been forwarded to any of his predecessors it would have been fulfilled - and I include Bill Clinton. I believe the left in the past two years has submitted more excuse slips for Obama than all the parents/doctors of all the elementary school kids who had to be excused from school for illnesses and other family matters. It is sad to see an adult man require such a large group of enablers on call to excuse him from acting like, well, an adult man.

I meant to write to excuse ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I meant to write to excuse him from failing to act like an adult man. Sorry.

Thankfully, Lt. Col. Patric... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

Thankfully, Lt. Col. Patrick Collins (Ret.) is a better man than I. I doubt that my response(s) would have been as thoughtful and classy. Barry is an extremely sad excuse for a CinC.

I am sure that obama would ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I am sure that obama would be quite surprised that people live real lives and have real feelings, desires, hopes and dreams. This just confirms the impression that he does not have any idea that others exist in any concrete sense. I think that to him other people are only an abstraction.

Perhaps if Sgt. Collins had... (Below threshold)

Perhaps if Sgt. Collins had been black and/or Muslim...

Perhaps if Sgt. Co... (Below threshold)
Brett:
Perhaps if Sgt. Collins had been black and/or Muslim...

Or had tortured and killed some dogs.

I'm trying to think of a Pr... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I'm trying to think of a President who would not have called the family of a slain soldier under these circumstances and I just cannot manage to think of a single one. All the way back through FDR I think they all would have called.

Obama is a disgrace to this... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Obama is a disgrace to this nation. Period.

And Cantwell should publicly fire the employee who sent that letter. She won't, simply because it's just not that big a deal to her.

But then, they're both Democrats, and we don't EXPECT them to give a damn about our country OR our soldiers. But rest assured, our military personnel are watching all this. Very carefully.

Obama has played a... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
Obama has played about that many holes of golf.

Damn good point, RM.

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/blogs/local-knowledge/2010/12/obama-56-or-57-rounds-but-whos-counting.html

57 rounds x 18 holes = 1,026 holes of golf which were more important than our honored dead. Add in the call about Vick, singing with Paul McCartney, Christmas parties with Michelle the Warrior Queen, and on and on . . .

Obama is a pathetic joke.

"Obama is a disgrace to thi... (Below threshold)
914:

"Obama is a disgrace to this nation. Period."


Case closed! However, in a smidgen of defense for Barry, he knows not how many States there are, so messing up a name is not surprising for the Indonesian jackanapes in Chief.

This is the problem when go... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

This is the problem when government gets too large. There core duties are over shadow by everything else. Instead of equipping our warriors to fight in combat and ensuring when they fall honors are rendered. It million other things that the federal government was never empowered todo.

Over 60% of combat troops opposed lifting of DADT. BHO looks at those men in uniforms as he looks at Police officers as being just Stupid and oppressors of of others.

I say what the president cannot bring himself to say. However , woefully inadequate it is to say.
You have the thanks and sympathies of a grateful nation for the sacrifice of your son.

Barry is President when it'... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Barry is President when it's convenient. For him.

My sincere condolences to t... (Below threshold)
JDL:

My sincere condolences to the family of Sgt. Sean Collins.

Our President is not a president of ALL of the people, only some of them. This is a fact that cannot be disputed.

I am considered an enemy to him. It does not surprise me that Obama does not have time for what is right for a President because Obama does not have a clue what a President does or is supposed to do.

Obama has surrounded himself with Anti-Americans and if they can destroy our militaries morale then he considers that a success.

I used to go fishing 3 times a week or more before my career ending injury.(I used to be very successful at it and planned on fishing tournaments after retiring) I can count on my hands how many times I have fished in the last 10 years since that injury because of my inability to get my earnings back up to pre-injury levels. It's because I feel I cannot justify the fishing while my family has to go without. I do not think it is too much to ask for the President to stay in the WH and CREATE SOME FREAKING JOBS INSTEAD OF PLAYING GOLF ONCE A WEEK AND FLYING ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Now he is going to spend the next 2 years campaigning for 2012 so he will not be in the WH at all.




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