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Family of fallen soldier warmed by letters, stung by politicians

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Dec. 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm with 68 Comments »
January 3, 2011 1:10 pm

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.

Cantwell’s office is on short staffing for the holiday week and has not replied to an email to its press staff. The Collins family was in touch with Cantwell’s office in the capital Thursday, and was told Cantwell’s staffers were looking into the mistake.

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.

Update – 11 a.m., Jan. 3

Sen. Cantwell spoke with the Collins family Friday to apologize for the mistake in the letter. Here is a statement from her office:

“Senator Cantwell has the greatest respect for Sergeant Sean M. Collins’ service and the deepest sympathy for his family’s tremendous loss. Senator Cantwell has spoken with both of the fallen soldier’s parents to convey her respect and deepest sympathies. Our office hopes that this error will not overshadow this bright young man’s service to our country nor cloud the respect Senator Cantwell has for the Collins family and her heartfelt sorrow for their loss.”

Leave a comment Comments → 68
  1. First_Lefty says:

    Well it didn’t take long to politicize their son’s death.

    This is why I avoided a comment on the original article. How many thousands of men and women have died serving their country in one way or another? For any political figure to be expected to make special phone calls or compose individual letters is just ridiculous.

    I’m sorry for your loss, but direct your hurt at the people that sent us to war.

  2. fbergford says:

    You have no shame Brainy smurf. I hope you enjoy all the smugness you create in this world.

  3. It goes both ways. Maria needs to make the correction AND fire the staffer who caused the error. And George Bush needs to step up and say that he is responsible for committing troops to an unwinnable war.

  4. soldiersmom3 says:

    Lefty’s comments have nothing to do with intelligence. How many thousands of men and women have died serving their country in one way or another? The fact of the matter is that this particular soldier died serving his country and nation and his family now suffers the loss of a son and brother. Politicizing the death was not the intent of the article. It was purely done to honor a young man’s life. Political figures from all over the country took the time and cared enough to show their appreciation of my son’s service through cards and letters and managed to spell his name correctly.

  5. the3rdpigshouse says:

    FL and wjbruno – people like you and those marxists currently running the US gov’t make one pause as to how we entice such great citizens to serve our nation in the armed forces knowing they will always receive little quips from people like you and a total absence of appreciation/respect from marxist leaders like “OH-Bummer”!!

  6. dankuykendall says:

    You nailed that!!!

  7. Bush wanted to hide all of the deaths by prohibiting photographs of them on their return. Now someone complains because they did not get a phone call. Interesting

  8. First_Lefty says:

    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.

    I recall fondly how nicely you all treated Cindy Sheehan when she was unhappy about her son’s death.

    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.

    Again, my condolences to the family. Having lost people close to me during Viet Nam and having a grandchild whose daddy died in Iraq, I’m not protected from the pain any more or less than anyone else.

    Oh, and no…..George W. Bush didn’t call when my grandchild’s daddy died in Iraq.

  9. First_Lefty says:

    When Cindy Sheehan went public about her pain and loss, here is the type of things that were said about her:

    It is obvious that she has no idea what a Fascist Government really is. She has aligns herself with Radical Islam and White Supremacists. Her supporters are David Duke and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan! Where is the moral outrage? This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Left-Wing is a serious threat to America! It makes you wonder what side she would have been on in World War II.

  10. sgtmikey says:

    Thats right First_Lefty, blame the hurt to those that sent us to this war…….those were flying those planes on 9/11……..damn radicals

  11. First_Lefty says:

    mikey…….so you are still trying to tie 20 terrorists from Saudia Arabia to Iraq?

    I think you need to pay attention to what has been proven, versus your magnificent magnifying mind.

  12. 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.

  13. Kevindot1 says:

    TheDad, are you saying that George W called the families of every soldier who died in war while he was in office?

  14. Novelist3 says:

    Well said, eloquently spoken. A far more intelligent piece than any of the leftists here could comprehend or deserve.

  15. our prayers to the family for their loss of a son, gratitude for Sean’s sacrifice as well as the knowledge that men like Sean stand in the gap between our enemies and ourselves

  16. I send condolences not only to the Collin’s family but to all the family’s who have lost their loved ones fighting this war that has nothing to do with protecting our freedoms as Americans. In fact if anything since this fake war began we as Americans can actually attest to the fact we have lost more of our freedoms since. For any father or mother to believe that their loved one died fighting for America’s freedoms or right’s is just that a belief because the real story is while our Military is on the other side of the world from us we as Americans on this side of the world watch our Government on a continual basis trample the country’s constitution and bill of rights complicating even further what our Military is actually fighting for!

  17. There is both a personal and a national tragedy in this story. The loss of this young mans life is a heavy burden for his family to bear. The national tragedy is W Bush involved this nation in an unecessary war based on lies, almost identical to Viet Nam. Most individuals and certainly not the media have even casually looked into the complete absurdity that 911 was carried out by some renegade Arabs taking flight lessons. If you think the Pentegon was hit by an 757 then you will be forever convinced and there is nothing anyone will ever be able to do to convince you otherwise. Ok a 757 with no wings, passengers, luggage, black box etc If you think it was by at least one missile then you have a shred of hope. If you have any doubt about the pentegon then begin to start examining the other 911 events. W Bush is heavily involved in the national cover up and should be tried as a traitor to this country.

  18. bobbysangelwife says:

    here we go with the “this war is fake” and “it was conspired by W Bush”… don’t we have quite the imagination in this country—nothing lost there!

    TheDad–God bless you and your family at this time and for future times. Things will never be the same in your household, nothing will be able to take that pain from you.
    I’ve yet to attend a funeral for someone I actually knew(and I’ve attended many), had I known about your son, I’d have been there for you and your family.

  19. Buggerall says:

    I just love to read the postings from the compassionate, caring liberals. Must they always be so hateful and full of spite?

  20. Flyovercountry says:

    How is it politicizing of a soldiers death telling a story of how our current lot of politicians aren’t taking care of the fallen soldiers families? Is it because it was your candidates who are currently in charge?

    Man up, take off your skirts and put your pants on! The candidates in charge……., it’s their war now! They could end it anytime they wanted too. Also, it doesn’t help that the people who were protesting this conflict have abandoned the street corners they were protesting on the past 7 years.

    I am not sorry the luster has fallen off the current regime. They campaigned against the war, disrespected the soldiers like with Harry Reid by saying Iraq couldn’t be won (We did so well they are kicking us out). Now when Obama telegraphs our departure date in Afghanistan, it just looks like we will be there indefinitely. There is hope and change!

    God Bless our Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, because they serve at the peril of our elected leaders, who-ever they are!

  21. VirginiaDad says:

    TheDad: From my family to you and your family, thank you for your sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice paid by your son. There are no there words I can offer other than may God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Also, do yourself a favor and don’t read any of the negative comments posted here. If you do, please remind yourself that their views are baseless as any such views would be that are expressed in a comments section of an article such as this. A hateful, hurtful, misguided lot they are.
    In your defense I would like to offer two quick comments to first_lefty and MOGVET. First_Lefty, I pray for you that one day your eyes will be opened to the love and sacrifice that surrounds you every day living in this great Country. MOGVET, I was one of the hundreds of eyewitnesses interviewed by the FBI after 911 who first-hand witnessed a 757 airplane fly into the Pentagon. Statements that are written and digitally recorded and avialible to the public if you took the time to educate yourself instead of blinding following your political ideology.

  22. During the Civ War Maj Gen William T. Sherman Later General of the Army, is often quoted as saying “I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers.”

    Your son is in good company. Know that the rest of us understand and actually find some humor in this.

    Your son was able to fight the nastys overseas as well as the ones in our own congress. My heartfelt thanks.

  23. To the Collins family: my condolences for your loss and my entire family’s gratitude for YOUR family’s service and sacrifice. I truly wish there was a diplomatic answer to every world problem, but since there isn’t, the bravery and love of country you and every one before and since who have served deserves more than can ever be given back to you.

    First_Lefty, wjbruno, jegggo, ipsut and MOGVET: There is a time and place to express your opinions, and those opinions should be respected when they are given with respect. While some of you tried to tread lightly, your choice of forum was a blatant failure. You are classless human beings that do not deserve the rights afforded you by this great nation. No matter what your beliefs, keep them out of this grieving family’s living room.

  24. In a war the WWII, it wouldn’t be practical to have the President calling each family. However, the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are miniscule in comparison. This President should be contacting the families. He could ‘pay’ for it by reducing the number of his vacations and golf dates. He could do it anytime because his policies are killing the American economy and people. So, forget about this ‘too busy’ nonsense. The Senator should be severely criticized in the Senate Chamber for the hurt she thrust upon the family of a fallen soldier. A Senator and Representative should acknowledge the fallen soldiers of families in their districts. They should also take the time to insure their facts are correct. Perhaps this Senator had one too many cocktail parties?

  25. Hunsaker says:

    I am not surprised at all with some of these “comments” regarding this fine young man and his family. Crap like this “Firs-Lefty” guy and other dung who extend some typical left wing – Demoncrat comments demonstrate what Dems are all about – and THEY accuse other of being “hateful”? WAKE UP AMERICA – God bless our troops, every one of them, and vote ALL DEMS and RINOs OUT in 2012!

  26. Hunsaker says:

    Does ANYONE really think this president gives a rat’s rear about this soldier, his service or his family? For that matter, the man cares not for the country itself. He will make a sick call to a wealthy businessman and praise a scumbag who tortured and killed dogs by the dozen during a holiday. NOTE: he is a Democrat!

  27. JusPal et al

    What country do you live in? Last I time I checked this is a public forum not someone’s living room and we’re still living in America. SGT Sean Collins and his father both took an oath to defend the constitution which includes the sacred 1st Amendment. This level of conviction may be difficult for you to understand. I believe SGT Collins would be appalled that you would suggest his death was in vain and that we not have this right of free speech. No one here is celebrating the horrific loss to this family so all of you sunshine patriots can take a chill pill. The fact of the matter is these endless ill conceived wars are taking away America’s best and for what? We have been in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, for 10 years and frankly the only thing that seems to change it the number of dead and wounded. Talk to those who are or who have been there, they are the only ones that matter, and they will tell you to the man we are accomplishing nothing and will at some point leave and Afghanistan remain as it has for thousands of years.

  28. highspeedmdd says:

    well, I guess that is what you get…how’s that change working out for everyone so far?

  29. Hunsaker says:

    I agree with your 1st Amendment comment, however, Juspal, I think, was expressing concern about the time and place of the type of comments made in this comment format, and I also agree with him. As to this NOW stupid “war”, it is clear that we will not win this war for the reason that the current President (Commender In Chief) will NOT allow a victory. Our military is not allowed to “win it”. It is a stupid policy and is wasting life and limb. The president CAN end this thing and we could “win” if HE would order such an outcome – he won’t. Therefore, we should exit and when doing so should make it clear we will DESTORY anyone or any nation who harbors those who attack us – period, end of story.

  30. Amazing.

    Obama is playing golf and swooning football players while ignoring American soldiers who paid the ultimate price. Meanwhile a form letter sent by a politician couldn’t get the name right gets sent to the family … and liberals respond by blaming George Bush.

    There ARE two America.

  31. Maria Cantspell

  32. USCTrojan says:

    Condolences to the Collins family from my family. Thank you for your heroic service to this country. I can’t imagine the loss that you’ve endured. I doubt the following is of any solace or is even necessary for you, but I carry the following with me at all times.

    “We think that when someone dear to us dies, we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer defeat, that all is ended. We think, as T.R. said, that the light had left his life forever. Not true. It is only a beginning always. The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes when you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be at the highest mountain.”

    Richard M. Nixon (August 9, 1974)

  33. nowaredstatemom says:

    Hey jacka&&es, Obama could get us out of this war TODAY but he is too busy golfing, eating shaved ice and renting million dollar vacation mansions. The fact that Maria Cant do well’s office can’t get a soldiers name right shows how much they care about a man who made the ultimnate sacrifice for all of us. That is why we left your left wing looney state for REAL red state America.

  34. This is worth repeating!!

    Jebby1 says:
    December 31, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Obama is playing golf and swooning football players while ignoring American soldiers who paid the ultimate price. Meanwhile a form letter sent by a politician couldn’t get the name right gets sent to the family … and liberals respond by blaming George Bush.

    There ARE two Americas.

    Read more:

  35. I’m from Texas and I’m appalled at the anti-American fools that permiate your state. It amazes me how MOGVET can actually bad mouth the young man that was killed and the military and then turn around and hide behind the First Amendment that those same men protect. Liberals are destroying this country along with that Marxist president who admires dog killers more than our Military. And of course all of you space cadets still are blaming Bush for everything. If you would bother to educate yourselves all of those stupid conspiracy theories have been debunked hundreds of times. The truth is what we were told from the start. 20 Muslim Arabs attacked America. Now we have one Muslim sympathizer attacking her all over again every day. We don’t have time to put up with pansey a**s libs bad mouthing our men and women who protect us against evil. I have a daughter in the Air Force and she puts her life on the line so idiots like you have a safe place to sleep. There is no honor in being a whining left-wing loser. Aren’t you people ashamed each time you look at yourselves in the mirror. It’s sickening listening to your liberal, unrealistic mush. Grow up and get real! Join the Marines.

  36. flyingdutchman says:

    TheDad made this political more than any here. It is obvious where his misguided political beliefs stem from.

  37. Not even close to celebrating New Year’s and here we have bob123 sipping more cool-aid then he needs already! ( He say’s And of course all of you space cadets still are blaming Bush for everything. If you would bother to educate yourselves all of those stupid conspiracy theories have been debunked hundreds of times) Take another approach, who do you really think has dubunked those conspiracy’s? You don’t presume it would be the very Government that was responsible for them in the first place now would you? then he goes on to say ( Muslim Arabs attacked America) Have you ever wondered how those Muslims got onto those Airplanes? With possible help from the CIA? Remember there would be no Osama Bin Laden today if it had not been for the CIA yesterday! Remember Oliver Norths Freedom Fighters? Come on bob123 put your thinking cap on for a while and so goes the saying THINK Jimmy Neutron THINK!

  38. A few things to consider:

    (1) The rhetorical use of “Bush” or “those who put us in the war” is a red herring. The question is whether or not a President has an obligation to call the family of those slain upon request (not by default). Thus, whether Bush did or not is irrelevant; if he did, then so be it, if not, then so be it. The question is, should a president do such a thing. Bush’s involvement in such an action is, therefore, quite irrelevant. To say, “What about Bush” misses the fact that Obama is in the here-and-now and sending troops to Afghanistan, making him just a culpable as Bush (and furthermore, if ever there were a justified war, the invasion of Afghanistan could be put forth as an example, mishandled though it may be).

    (2) In the past week we’ve seen our President make phone calls to two sports teams (UCONN women’s basketball coach and the Philadelphia Eagles) to congratulate them on their accomplishments – as well as he should have! But when a family requests to speak to the President after said family has given a sacrifice in a war the President is continuing – whether just or unjust – one would argue that the President has the ethical obligation to make that phone call when he finds time, preferably before calling two sports teams.

    (3) Perhaps rather than debating the logistics of having a President call the families of slain service members upon request or having congresspeople write letters (or send form letters), we could see what an impact this could potentially have – our government, in my opinion, is too lax when it comes to committing soldiers to foreign conflicts. If they had to face the consequences of their decisions – whether justified or not – perhaps they would be less apt to send us into some conflicts. That is to say, before sending soldiers off to face harm, could they say, in good faith, that they could tell the family of the slain soldier the sacrifice was worth it? Could they look a grieving mother in the eyes, a mourning widow, or distraught orphans and sleep at night knowing that people such as these had to be created in order to secure freedom? Perhaps requiring the President to fulfill his ethical obligations (or Congress for that matter) would personalize his choices, making him far more careful in his foreign policy.

    (4) This story is entirely apolitical. Only those who are partisan to their core could possibly see this as a political story. Only the staunchest Republican would use this to insult the President (forgetting it was Bush who put us there) and only the most Liberal would take this as an affront to their Lord and Savior Obama (that is a commentary on the followers who see no wrong in him, not on the man himself who, I think, has always hated the image thrust upon him by his most dogmatic followers). The fact is politicians, whether they be Republican or Democrat, have ethical obligations.

    At the end of the day, a life has been lost in a war that was begun in order to make America safer (conspiracy theorists need not apply). Obama has made a mistake, which is alright because he is a human being. No president is perfect and when you attempt to elevate a mere human being to the level of perfection you either leave with prodigious disappointment or become a cultist. Many comments here tend to border on the latter, refusing the acknowledge that the man is like the rest of us and culpable for mishaps.

    That is why, after all, the President is not the leader of our country, but instead shares authority with 535 other flawed individuals in the hopes that of these 535 + 1 leaders, the best will come forth and the flaws will be overpowered.

    We should keep the Collins family in our prayers and lend them our upmost gratitude. As we finish celebrating the Holidays and wish our children well as they go back to college for another semester, or begrudgingly wake our children up to start yet another semester of grade school, remember that in the Collins home there is one less child, all so that we might enjoy the aforementioned luxuries. It is a burden no parent should endure, but the Collins’ family has for our sake, so in return we should do our best to show our gratitude.

  39. TERMN8OR says:

    Dear TheDAD,
    Please excuse the ignorante and hate filled persons who have written such ugly and obviously not well thought out utterances which they have seemingly directed at your or your son. It is a shame that while he (and others such as yourself and I too and all the others who have or are serving in, the military) gave the ultimate sacrifice while upholding those rights and freedoms of which we hold so dear, others such as First_Lefty, apparently chose to use one of those rights (the 1st ammendment) to hide behind while running their mouths about that which they have not all the facts beforehand. While I agree that he/she (and those like him/her) has the RIGHT to say what they want, I also believe that this doesn’t mean that they SHOULD. I have a site at yahoo groups DISABLED VETERANS DENIED VA BENEFITS, at which I have written my own story about how I was treated by both Senators Murray and Cantwell, as well as President Obama and have posted the actual letters and e-mails too. What happened with regards to how they treated you was not an isolated case and so for those of you who think that this family was simply “seeking attention” or whatever by “going to the media” I say, go to my site, read my story and look at the actual evidence. These elected officials could give a care less about any of us in the military unless it might make them look good. This family was NOT seeking publicity but simply stating a very sad truth. We have a President who can take the time to make a phone call to the owner of a sports team to congradulate him on making a convicted FELON a multi-millionaire (again) but that same President cannot take the same amount of time to call a family of a soldier who has fallen in combat or write a letter to a veteran who was injured because of his service (me) and cannot get the VA to give him his benefits that he and his family are entitled to and that wrote to the President asking for his assistance in the matter. Former President Bush wrote me, but had to hand my case off to Obama who promptly did….. nothing. I don’t know which saddens me the worst, that our elected officials can so heartlessly turn their back on us veterans and active duty service personel unless they have some sort of personal stake in the matter (ie: Photo op or election time) while mouthing the politically correct “I am for our veterans” or the people who seem to happily heap even more hurt and pain on a family who has lost a loved one who died while serving his or her country. I said it once before in another posting , but I will say it here again, my condolences to you and your family, Mr. Collins, and thank you for the sacrafices that you and your family and son have made for this country. Please forgive the arrogance and ignorance of both our elected officals as well as those who attack you or your family in these postings. I have walked in your shoes myself, sir. And still am.

  40. TERMN8OR says:

    Oh, and as a “P.S” to the comments about us not being able to win this war. If the President and those in the position of authority who are running the war would stop worrying so much about how the rest of the world might “perceive”us and just let our military leaders and our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines do what they are actually trained to do, this war would not only be “won” but likely would be over by now as well. Having been in a firefight or two myself I can tell you that NO soldier, Marine, etc wants to be in combat or having bullets coming at them any longer then necessary. As such, if turned loose to do their job, which is to get in, kill the enemy with aggression of action, and overwhelming superior firepower, and then get the hell out, they would do so. And those that are currently so happy do do harm to this country just might have second thoughts if they knew that the “gloves” had finally come off and our military was allowed to hit back like it REALLY can.

  41. AmericanInGermany says:

    It is a matter of priorities. Senator no brains let her half-vast staff take off for vacation and left the other half-vast part there to write letters to parents of fallen soldiers without telling them she would fire them if they made a mistake with a name.

    B.O. Plenty also has clear priorities, such as choosing to speak with a convicted criminal (Michael Vick) instead of to the families of U.S. service members killed in action serving the U.S. Forces. Naturally B.O. did not make this decision only by himself, but influenced such decisions by his choice of moral trash to work for him.

  42. First Lefty:

    You forget, or choose to ignore, that Cindy Sheehan actually had a face to face meeting with the president to discuss the death of her son. She left that meeting publicly expressing ;support for the president. Inexplicably she later reversed this view.
    Yes, I would agree that Ms. Sheehan seemed to be all about making herself famous in the wake of her son’s death. Based on his comments to family and friends prior to his death, he was clearly in support of the objectives of the war. He would not have approved of, I believe, his mother’s use of his death to so publicly oppose it.

  43. tjnpuyallup says:

    I would hope people of all political ideologies would keep the Collins family in their thoughts and prayers.

    Is Sen. Cantwell’s clerical error unacceptable? Considering the circumstances, yes. All that remains to be seen is how she correcting it. ‘Short staffed for the holidays’ and ‘We’ll look into it’ isn’t a great start, but let’s see.

    Should it be the policy of the POTUS to call the family of all deceased soldiers? I say no, but only because that makes it an obligation, If the President (Bush or Obama) feels it genuinly in their heart to call and offer comfort to those families, they should as long as it’s genuine and not so they can run to reporters and say ‘Look how great I am. I call every dead soldier’s family’.

    I visit Tahoma on Memorial and Veteran’s Day. The ceremony has gotten so bad with self-congratulating polticians talking about ‘how much they do for the vets’ I can’t go anymore. People who want to visit loved one’s gravesites on those days have to call and find out when the politicians will be done, so they can honor their family member with some level of dignity. It’s just sad. We can’t even honor our fallen without it being political.

    Hopefully, the bravery and sacrifice of Sgt. Collins will serve as a reminder that what those ‘kids’ do oversees isn’t a game. It’s serious business. The ‘adults’ in Washington D.C. may treat war like a poltical football, but it has real consequences. I was sickened by how the left politicized Iraq for their own political gain. I hope the right (which I include myself in) doesn’t use Afghanistan the same way against President Obama. Voicing opposition because something is wrong and you want to fix it is good. Doing it just to win an election is unacceptable.

    I can’t help but think if the average 50 year-old congressman, making $175,000 a year, loved this country 1/10th as much as the average 18 year-old Pfc, making $25,000 a year, 99% of our nation’s problems would be solved tomorrow.

  44. Ruckweiler says:

    First Lefty:
    Obviously you don’t have a clue regarding the callous disregard for the family of SGT Collins. The issue is not politics but properly honoring the dead. A form letter for something like this is contemptible. As a parent myself, you’re not supposed to outlive your kids. Is your hobby picking the wings off of flies?

  45. To TheDad says: Even as a complete stranger I was upset you lost your son. It always makes me sad to see the fallen soldiers because there is one less good guy in the world. You were obviously a great dad and raised a fine son. Hopefully, his brief life inspired others to use their time wisely and appreciate the freedom he fought for. I know I am going to try. Don’t let the ugly posters upset you. There is something wrong with them and they are unhappy people. We all out here with decent manners understand what you are doing. Please remember a lot of folks read the article and have felt your family’s loss. We’re out there.

  46. typicalwhiteguy says:

    As a retired USCG CWO3 and proud father of a 15 yr active duty Navy petty officer, I wish to personally convey my deepest sympathies and condolences to Lt.Col. Collins and his former wife. Those of us who have served and whose children voluntarily continue that proud tradition, are uniquely saddened by the loss of one our own children and a hero of the common military brotherhood that we all share. Unlike the military the United States fielded during the bygone era of the draft, our children volunteer to sacrifice the prime years of their lives to protect the ever-dwindling freedoms afforded ALL of us, both the grateful and the ungrateful, under our Constitution.
    I was stationed in the ‘Peoples’ Republic of Washington’ for almost 15 years during my military career, and personally witnessed the political take over by the most liberal of democrats and their willing accomplices in the perverted ‘Green’ movement, The voters of Washington had an opportunity to fire one of the most leftist of U.S. senators last Nov., but instead, blindly returned her to continue to play her part in destroying this great nation as a rubber stamp for the Marxist traitor Obama. The selfish voters and looters of the Washington welfare state just couldn’t bear to see any of their “rightful plunder” be endangered. I’m not the least bit surprised that a democrat hack politician who not only never served in the military but loathes it’s very existence, would make such a gaffe. Reminds me of when Maria’s California colleague, Barbara Boxer, publicly dressed down a Brigadier General at a senate hearing to elevate herself in her own twisted mind. If the American people really appreciated the freedom we all enjoy that is vigilantly protected by our self-sacrificing military, they would have called for the resignation of such self-serving politicians; not reelect them. You reap what you sow. It’s clear to see where Obama and his useful idiot democrat poltiicians want to take this country. Anyone who blindly continues to aid in perpetuating their tenure is equally responsible,
    I’m not the least bit surprised that Obama would ignore the family af Sgt. Collins and shirk his responsibility as commander-in-chief in favor of a convicted felon athlete while enjoying yet another taxpayer funded vacation fit-for-a-king. He’s just living as large as possible at our expense while he can.
    Democrats – merrily destroying America one oerverted administration at a time.
    Aloha, Barry Soetoro!

  47. typicalwhiteguy says:

    To TheDAD:
    You, sir, are to be commended for the high level of constraint exhibited in responding to First_Lefty. While he is so very typical of the hate-filled faux-“compassionate” spoiled brats that are all too commonplace in America today; he still has a right to free expression (at least for now) under the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, Sadly, despite the efforts of you, me and our selfless children; people like Lefty, in their vast ignorance and vulnerability to the snake oil salesman-like empty rhetoric of Marxist politicians like Obama, Cantwell and the rest of the leftist traitors will unwittingly succeed in destroying this once great nation.

  48. alindasue says:

    To TheDad,

    First off, my condolences to you and your family. My feelings about the war, the current administration, or the past administration are irrelavant here. To lose a child is a horrific thing. No parent should have to bury his child. I pray for your comfort during this time of loss.

    When you requested that the president call your ex-wife, I assume you spoke with the White House staff. Am I correct? I’m thinking that it was that staff member who told you the president was too busy, not President Obama himself. It is quite likely that the president was never even told about your request.

    It is well known that President Obama is a sports fan, so his decision to call a prominant sports figure is not too surprising. He follows the sports news. I’m sure he also reads the national news and his hometown (Hawaii) news. Unfortunately, as important as your family’s loss is to us here locally, your request probably did not make the national news and President Obama still doesn’t know about it.

    I wonder if perhaps, is it possible that any of the reporters here have enough pull to make the president aware of the request that the staff member didn’t relay? It would be great if they could.

  49. I am not sure whether Bush called EVERY family, but he definitely made more of an effort than Obama ever has.

    BO is too busy partying, golfing, playing basketball, and going on TV talk shows to give a rats rear end about the troops. The military is just an inconvenience to him. He is a disgrace as a “commander in chief”.

  50. jmrec100 says:

    Sadly, most politicians are not even aware of their constituents. How many of them are actually involved with the state’s people outside of campaigning, fund-raising, or plain partying on our tax money. The real ones who care are the people. My heart goes out to the families. I pray for those left behind and am indeed grateful and indebted to those who do serve for MY freedom. My country, and US. Thank you

  51. DJ_Drummond says:

    Thank you and your family, Lt. Col., and please add my condolences to those you have received from us here.

    Regarding your son, I honestly lack the words to do justice to his courage, integrity, and spirit. Unfortunately, there are few men like Sgt. Collins, and so his death is all that much greater a loss, to all of us but especially his family and friends. Fortunately, he is watched over by a holy and gracious God, who has seen and is well pleased by his character and I have no doubt that even now he is hearing those words we all cover most; “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. Come the time, you will see him again, and your joy will be great and all sorrow done away.

    As regards FirstLefty and his ilk – they would do well to consider that we all must give an account of ourselves. When a man has no courage proven, no integrity demonstrated, and no heart to count honor in another, he is a poor and dismal spirit indeed, and so his words betray his paucity of person. Leave such poor wretches to their bile and spittle, nothing we could say would sting more than the true futility of their wasted lives, which they will deny in voice but know too well in their dank and bitter cores.

    My condolences again to the Collins family, and like many here I thank you for your service, weep for your loss, and hope for your sure solace.

  52. Your story is being told across the blogosphere Lt. Col. Collins. The mainstream media may ignore it and they most definitely will continue to give this president pass after pass, but those in the heartland will know of your sacrifices and those of your son.

    The man who currently resides in the White house has no code and he has no honor. He is an interloper and an advocate for the enemies of this country and those who mock and slight the sacrifices made by those who bravely serve this nation.

    Personally, I don’t think anything has been missed by your family not receiving a call from Barack Obama. The man has no sincerity of concern for our military or their sacrifices, therefore, anything that he might say would be hollow in my opinion.

    Semper Fi Sir.

  53. NWflyfisher says:

    I might have given President Obama a pass on the phone call had it not been for the call he made to the Philadelphia Eagles owner. However, its totally inexcusable for Senator Cantwell’s office to misidentify the name of a Soldier from her own state who dies in battle while serving his country.

    Perhaps President Obama really put his feelings all into perspective for us:

  54. Is there anyone – one single person – reading this who is not thinking what I’m thinking?

    What I’m thinking would not only get this comment pulled from this site, but would likely elicit a visit to my home by members of the federal government wearing dark suits, sunglasses, and carrying firearms.

    So… let’s put it another way: Is there one man or woman among you reading this would wouldn’t – as a U.S. Senator, Member of the House of Representatives, governor of a state, or President of the United States – send a personally handwritten letter of condolences to the family of a deceased member of our military lost in battle who had been a constituent, or whose closest loved ones are constituents?

    This isn’t WW-2. This isn’t even Vietnam. We’re talking a relative handful of letter for even the President of the United States – some hundreds a year – thank God not tens of thousands per year.

    These people are not like us.

    Say what you will about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They cared.

    President Obama and Senator Cantwell… let’s just leave what I think of them to your imaginations.

    Bill Barker
    Harriman, NY

  55. typicalwhiteguy says:

    Well said, Mr. Bill Barker. Speaking for myself, and most likely a majority of freedom-loving Americans, I think you’ll find out Nov. 6. 2012 that most of us are thinking as you are when we send the Kenyan traitor and another big batch of Marxist democrats home for good, Whether that “home” be Hawaii, Chicago or Kenya, we really won’t care; just so long as we no longer have to feel ashamed of our chief executive and have a real commander-in-chief instead of just another mindless sports fan.
    God bless you,sir, and God bless all of us; especially our brave men and women in uniform and their families.

  56. The warm blanket of Hope and Change We Can Believe In !

  57. lessthantolerant says:

    What is wrong with you people in Washington? How can you elect such a classless POS and then relect her to office?

    My condolences to this family but my disgust to the voters of Washington.

  58. GABlueStarMom says:

    Please know Lt. Col. Collins, we are profoundly grateful for your son Sgt. Sean Collins. There are no word to truthfully express our gratitude. I pity Sen. Cantwell and Pres. Obama, as they are both shameless in their lack of respect.

    Both the Soldier and the Politician take an oath to protect the Constitution, the Soldier actually keeps the promise!

    May you rest in peace, Sgt. Collins.

  59. jongrif851 says:

    Vice President Bush (yeah that’s correct) and President Cheney got us into Iraq by “ly-ing” — remember that ….??? So Bush should have been calling the troops families not only to offer condolences but to say he’s sorry for getting us into an illegal war. Afghanistan yes, Iraq no — and oh BTW — he never finished either war … yet he also does things like allowing Big Corporations to park money overseas and then allow them to “repatriate” it at 5% (2004) instead of the normal 35% — and you are still praising him ….?? Gimme a break . Remember that every time you go to pay your taxes — that President Cheney and VP Bush allowed their cronies at Enron, Exxon-Mobil and my favorite Halliburton to get away with not paying their taxes. You also remember that Pres. Cheney was given a 40 million severance package by Halliburton — tell me you remember that ….?? and just How did Halliburton get all those multi-Billion dollar contracts “to support” the troops — only people they are supporting is ex-President Cheney and the rest of the shareholders. Funny thing as well, I somehow remember hearing that Halliburton had a small hand in a certain Gulf oil spill (an understatement)

    and lest you think I am just an armchair General — I am retired Army with 24 years service — 12 enlisted and 12 as an Officer and absolutely disgusted with both these “fine Americans” ….

  60. RightOn says:

    No, Jongrif851, we don’t think you are an armchair general. More like an armchair private. Phony soldier.

  61. jongrif851 You saying your a member of the military past or present is at best dubious I can say I am the king of Siam that doesn’t make it so, You doing this comes across as another left wing cry baby who thinks by giving his “testimony” that it will make him more credible. and you facts are at best suspect and many are out right lie’s but to people like you the truth is of little consequence only that you scream your message as loud as possible. You left out the one main reason for this whole article, The fallen soldier and his family, You sir are no Soldier, But its not to late look up the Army values and read them every day and maybe some of them will sink in. I look forward to your snarky comments to follow. ( 11B4P8) thats my MOS a real soldier will know what that is

  62. cccdude says:

    To those with Bush derangement syndrome, like jongrif851, let me point out just a few things. EVERY intelligence agency in the world believed Sadam to have WMD’s. Even bill & hillary clinton belived Sadam to have WMD’s, so your ranting about Bush & Cheney having lied to get us into Iraq is just a demonstration of your mental derangement. Next, your pal’s, harry & nancy, have been in charge of congress since Jan 07 and in charge of the WH since Jan 09, so if Haliburton is still receiving no bid contracts then it is the fault of the dems and not Bush/Cheney, another of your partisan talking points down in flames. Next, it was bill clinton that took 1 million from Ken Lay for his re-election inaugural parties, it was bill clinton that had Ken Lay to the WH not once but multiply times. It was the Bush Justice dept. that told Ken Lay to go pound sand when he called looking to be bailed out, another talking point down in flames. As for your claims of service, well your tirade tells your tale. Both bill clinton and obama have shown their great disrespect to our military, witch is a shame, and I hope they are remembered by those that have served honorably.

    As for cantwell there is simply no excuse, her laziness and the lack of respect of those in her office show just how blind the voters are of Washington. This woman, and I use that term loosely, has no respect for those in her home state that serve this great country. She is a disgrace to the nation and the voters of Washington should be ashamed.

    As for those large corporations that send money over seas and bring it back as pure profits, you should start by looking at the two senators from California, both democrats, their husband’s corporations have profited immensely from trade with China & other foreign countries. Take a look, their bank accounts have swelled since they were elected by the brain dead lemmings in California. So Jongrif851, now that all of your lunacy has been shot down, what are you going to rant about now? Let me guess, it’s all Bush’s fault.

  63. meanderingwordmaster says:

    First, I want to express my sorrow for the loss of another soldier. I know the pain and emptyness being felt by the Collins family at this time. My son was killed in an IED attack on January 13, 2010 — the wound I feel is still too raw at times. My only words of encouragement I can muster right now is this; don’t worry about the pols, they live in their own little convoluted world. But as I told one of my son’s buddies after they returned home from deployment, the “real” people in America support you guys. The same is true for those of us in the club no one wants to be a member of, the Gold Star community. My thoughts and prayers will be with you folks in the days and weeks and months ahead.

  64. stevieray says:

    JinxMchue is 100% correct. The only reason Obama called the Eagles is because Vic is black.

    And even if Sgt Collins where black… Obama wouldn’t call his parents because he wore the uniform that keeps this country free.

    Obama and Clinton are both cowards and liars. Clinton convinced an Army Col to sponsor him so he could attend Oxford University in England with the understanding he would have to serve in Vietnam. Clinton gave him his “word” he would do that. But he didn’t. He reneged on his promise, protested his country’s involvement in Vietnam while still in England. And he never had sex with that woman.

    Obama is about blacks as long as they don’t wear a military uniform.
    Vic tortured and killed dogs, spent two lame years in prison, reenters the NFL, plays well and his bosses get a personal phone call from our sorry excuse for a president congratulating them for giving Vic a second chance.

    Yet he won’t call the parents of a fallen soldier and thank them for raising a brave, courageous, dedicated, genuine American.

  65. LTCFrickey says:

    You are so right on, RIGHT ON, jongrif851 is ignorant and obviously had not paid attention to the news (other than the Left slanted news)

  66. LTCFrickey says:

    SFCDay, you are also right for calling jongrif851 as he is – no soldier and certainly not loyal to any uniform. He is a disgrace to the U.S. military.

  67. LTCFrickey says:

    You are 100% right about the WMD and Bush Derangement Syndrome and calling jongrif851 for what he really is (a misled liberal), cccdude. I applaud you!

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