An active-duty Marine major who is currently serving in Afghanistan just sent me this message. It speaks for itself:
Where is the outrage with our media and with the consumers of that media? Where are the priorities of our countrymen? A hero dies and receives not one ounce of media coverage. A drug addict dies, and flags are lowered to half-mast while receiving untold amounts of media attention. Maybe this is the way it is supposed to be.
On Valentine’s Day, former Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Oscar Canon, a Marine that I had the honor of serving with in 2004 when I commanded Company K, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, succumbed to a staff infection. That staff infection appears to have been directly tied to the 87 surgeries on his leg that stem from injuries he sustained on September 23, 2004.
I first met then Corporal (Cpl) Canon immediately after taking command of Company K in June 2004. He was impressive, competent, hard working, and eager. He absolutely loved his wife Jennie and talked about her all the time. During the initial invasion of Iraq he was referred to as “Contact Canon” because he was continuously engaged with the enemy. When we first met he was the mortar section leader in our company and had a competently trained section–not bad for an organization that is supposed to be led by a much more senior Marine wearing the rank of Staff Sergeant. During our final work ups prior to deployment a Sergeant reported in to take charge of the section, so Cpl Canon stepped down and filled the role of Gunner/Mortar Squad Leader. On Sep 23, 2004, on our last day of relief in place w/ Company E, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, driving down the same road that E 2/1 had driven down countless times, less than 500 meters and in plain view of the observation post along Main Supply Route Mobile where Cpl Canon was to stand duty, the 7-ton in which Cpl Canon was riding struck an improvised explosive device (IED), wounding Cpl Canon and others. The IED initiated a complex ambush. Many Marines fought with valor to break the enemy’s will and save Cpl Canon.
Cpl Canon was medevac’d back to the States. He and his wife divorced and he underwent 87 surgeries on his wounded leg in an attempt to recover to normalcy. I know at one point he ran Marine Corps Marathon with a senior officer while he was still in uniform. I just learned that Canon donated his kidneys and his liver to 3 people and will be buried in Arlington in a few weeks.
Attached is a link to an NPR article written about Canon in 2005, when he had a mere 33 surgeries under his belt.
Through it all one must wonder why Canon and others like him receive no attention and why the consumers of media care about drug addicts instead of heroes that gave all defending their country. Where is the outrage?
Richard S. Lowry has been writing about the Marine Corps for many years. To learn more about his writing and how to purchase his latest book, visit www.richardslowry.com.Read the full post and comments »