01/05/08 — Anything to win: Military heroism trivialized for sake of concert tickets

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Anything to win: Military heroism trivialized for sake of concert tickets

It seems odd that there would be a Hannah Montana concert ticket scandal — or that it would even make the news.

But this one is telling — and scary, especially in a town with thousands of airmen who have served, are serving or will serve in the fighting in the Middle East.

It seems that a mother, determined to get her 7-year-old tickets to the Disney Channel star’s sold-out concert, sent in a letter that began with the phrase: “This year, my father died in Iraq. ...”

This mother decided that the best way to get her daughter tickets to this show was to paint her as the daughter of a war hero who lost his life in battle.

She did not think there was anything wrong with lying or cheating — and it never seemed to occur to her what an insult that would be to the thousands of American families who actually have suffered such a loss.

None of that mattered as long as her daughter got the chance to see Hannah Montana.

And as if that weren’t horrific enough, she actually was scheduled to appear on a couple of national and local news broadcasts to defend her actions. She said she did what she had to do to win.

And, by the way, her daughter did win — and had the prize taken away when it was discovered that the letter was a falsehood.

Many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines say they are fighting for their country because it is the right and honorable thing to do. They say they are willing to take the risk to deploy overseas to protect their nation’s future for their children and future grandchildren. They know the import of their oaths — and the price they might pay in combat.

And their families do, too.

They suffer and worry and try to go on with their lives hoping that there will not be an attack that day — or worse, news that someone they love is not coming home.

To say that it is shocking that anyone could be callous and selfish enough to make such a despicable claim and then to defend her actions is an understatement. But to think that there is only one person in this country who does not appreciate or understand the sacrifices these servicemen and women make is also naive.

None of us will ever really understand the worry, the pain and the sacrifices of the families of American servicemen and women. You have to live it.

But what we can do is remind those who are enjoying the fruits of their protection and bravery that there is an honor and a respect we owe them that should never ever be violated.

So, while it is just fraud and the woman did not gain anything from her deception, it might be fitting to put her somewhere where she can volunteer to assist injured troops or their families, since it is unlikely we could turn her actions into an act that would require jail time.

Then, she might understand just how heinous and reprehensible her actions are.

It won’t undo the damage, but it will send a message to our servicemen and women that they do matter — and that we will not accept any real or perceived slights against their service or their contributions.

And right now, that is what really matters.

Published in Editorials on January 5, 2008 11:40 PM