Memorial Day 2011: Two Names That Matter


by Walter Brasch


Unless you were in a coma the past few years, you probably know who Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton are.

You heard about them on radio, saw them on television.

You read about them in newspapers and magazines, on Facebook, Twitter, and every social medium known to mankind.

 Because of extensive media coverage, you also know who dozens of singers and professional athletes are.

Here are two names you probably never heard of. Sergeant First Class Clifford E. Beattie and Private First Class Ramon Mora Jr.

They didn't get into drug and alcohol scandals. They didn't become pop singers or make their careers from hitting baseballs or throwing footballs. They were soldiers.

Both died together this past week from roadside bombs near Baghdad.

Sgt. 1st Class Beattie, from the small rural suburb of Medical Lake, Wash., spent 17 years in the Army, and was in his third tour of duty in Iraq. On the day he was killed, according to the Spokane Spokesman–Review, he had participated in a run to honor fallen soldiers. Sgt. Beattie was 37 years old. He leaves two children, one of whom was three weeks from graduating from high school; four sisters, a brother, and his parents.

PFC Mora, from Ontario, Calif., a city of about 170,000 near Los Angeles, was in his first tour in combat. He was 19 years old. "He was a very serious student, and education was important to him," Carole Hodnick, Mora's English teacher and advisor, told the Ontario Daily Bulletin. Hodnick also remembers him as having "a charisma about him, and the students just fell in line with him."

Clifford E. Beatttie and Ramon Mora Jr. were just two of the 6,049 Americans killed and 43,418 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan in war the past decade, the longest wars in American history.

You can't know or remember all of their names. But you can remember two.

Clifford E. Beattie. Ramon Mora Jr. 

Two Americans. One near the end of his Army career. One not long out of Basic Training. A White Caucasian and a Hispanic. Two different lives. Two different cultures. Two Americans.

Clifford E. Beattie. Ramon Mora Jr. Killed together more than 7,000 miles from their homes.

As you prepare for Memorial Day barbeques, surrounded by celebrity-laden news, remember the names of Clifford E. Beattie and Ramon Mora Jr., and all they stood for. Theirs are the names that matter.


[Walter Brasch is a social issues columnist and author. His next book is Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, available at and other stores after June 20. For more details, see YouTube.]



Heroes reconstructing the faces of US and Iraqi heroes

To date, over 30,000 US troops have been wounded while fighting in Iraq. Many of them involved traumatic injuries that demanded intense, highly specialized medical care. While US forces benefit from the skills of world-class trauma surgeons, the high-tech hospital equipment these medical professionals depend on in the US doesn't accompany them to the Iraqi battlefield.

There, the operating rooms, which have come a long way, resemble the long metal bins used to collect trash at construction sites but with the added benefits of a roof and lighting:

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The Other Side of Sacrifice

Yesterday, I wrote about my grandfathers and their contribution during WW2.  As I finished it, I realized that it was incomplete - only half of the story.  It is all too common that I think of only the soldiers from WW2 first and the families that stayed behind second.  Sadly, the legacy of the children and wives of the soldiers consists of far greater numbers than all of the troops that left to fight.  The people who stayed behind.  They were mothers, fathers, younger brothers and sisters, children and wives.

My two grandmothers stayed behind with their children.  The war was not kind or easy for them.  For some, their sacrifices continue to this day.

There's more...

A sincere call for help.

Hey all.  I read an artice today that really sent me over the top.  Mike Falcone over at "The Caucus" wrote an article about how the criminal Karl Rove was attacking Obama on abortion.

No big deal so far.  The really aggravating part came with this segment here

"Though he helped derail Senator McCain's presidential bid during the 2000 Republican primary, Mr. Rove lavished praise on his party's presumptive nominee on Friday. He spoke glowingly of Mr. McCain and his wife's decision to adopt a child from an orphanage in Bangladesh."

No note of the irony of the fact that Rove derailed McCain's 2000 campaign by raising the spectre of McCain HAVING FATHERED A BLACK CHILD.  This he now goes on to praise.

So I realize that this is minor compared to the more egregious distortions going on with that Donut delivery service laughingly caled the Associated Press.  But hey different straws for different camel's backs.

The point is I am fed up and pissed off.  

I have a burning desire to fight back lest my head explode.

I am pretty new at this whole game so I could use some help.  In fact I'm yelling out for it here.  

For instance does anybody know of a reliable way to get the e-mails for these various authors?  I wanted to point out to Mr. Falcone the irony I noted above but couldn't find his e-mail address.  

How else do you fight back?  I looking for advice from some of you more experienced hands out there.  How does one raise an effective stink outside our little echo-chamber here.  

How do we at least make it uncomfortable for them when the media lies or allows themselves to pass on lies.  

I'm tired of screaming at my computer.

So oh great and wise MyDD community...what advice might you have?  

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Would you like to see these as law?

Joe Serra is, exactly what the Illinois 14th District and any district that is overwhelmingly Conservative, needs.  Joe Serra is a Moderate Democrat and he will attract the swing voters in the 14th without, whose votes, the race is lost.  Democrats must understand this.

Joe Serra will be discussing this extremely important issue throughout the campaign for Congress.  

Affirmative Action
 (1) Transitional support to finish college.  I've talked with
     many guys that could NOT find a job even though they have
     college degrees and are forced to take positions below
     their capabilities.  I'm rather angry that this sort of    
     thing is happening and want to add protections to our Vets.
     They deserve better.  I am not saying Veterans Affirmative  
     Action is the best choice if there is a better idea I will  
     gladly listen and would greatly appreciate alternatives.

    i) Joe Serra is in favor of a comprehensive plan to aid
        everybody, including Veterans, who seek gainful
        employment, to be employed.
     ii) Joe Serra will keep, soldiers returning from service,
         on their salary until they either find a job or finish
     iii) Joe Serra will Expand mental-health counseling for  
          all returning soldiers and their familyies, as well  
          as improve training for Iraq-bound soldiers on the    
          emotional hardships of combat.

I think this is great!  Don't you?

There's more...


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