Memorial Day approaches and our minds naturally return to thoughts of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Thomas Lipscomb, a Vietnam vet himself, writes an elegy in the Philadelphia Inquirer for one particular casualty of the Iraq conflict, a man whose name is often invoked, but who does not seem to be much remembered:
On a pleasant hillside in the Vacaville—Elmira cemetery in California, there is a grave that still has no gravestone almost two years after a brave young soldier was buried there.
According to his mother, he was born on Memorial Day and died at age 24 on April 4, 2004, fighting with the First Cavalry Division in a militia— and terrorist—infested district of Baghdad named Sadr City. He was not an unknown soldier. In fact, thanks to his mother's constant use of his name in media appearances, he may be the best—known soldier of the Iraqi war. He's Casey Austin Sheehan, the son of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan.
The expense of a memorial gravestone is a problem for many people on limited incomes. But Cindy Sheehan was the beneficiary of $250,000 from her son's insurance policy. Besides, the federal government pays for funeral expenses and a simple marble marker. As a veteran, Casey Sheehan also merited a free plot with perpetual care in one of the nation's many national cemeteries.
Some pretty famous military figures have chosen to use that simple GI marble gravestone. The great heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis and Gen. George C. Marshall, commander of U.S. forces in World War II and later secretary of state, clearly felt that they deserved no more attention than any other veteran at rest under the trees at Arlington.
So with all of these resources, why is Casey Sheehan's grave still unmarked?
Seetness & Light earlier provided photos of the grave and further detail.
Casey deserves better.
Thomas Lifson 5 23 06