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Cantwell apologizes for error in letter to fallen soldier’s family

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Jan. 3, 2011 at 10:27 am with 20 Comments »
January 3, 2011 1:12 pm

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has apologized for sending a letter to a fallen soldier’s mother that misnamed him in its last paragraph.

The Dec. 20 letter was intended to show respect for Sgt. Sean M. Collins’ sacrifice, but the mistake frustrated the Collins family.

Its first two paragraphs correctly identified Collins, who grew up in Yelm and was killed in Afghanistan Dec. 12 in a suicide attack on his combat outpost. The third and final paragraph called him “Bryn.”

John Diamond, Cantwell’s communications director, on Friday night issued the following statement about the error.

“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 → 20
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    Whatever else I feel about Cantwell, she has been a steadfast supporter of Vets, and the currently serving. Cut her some slack.

  2. Mahakala says:

    There is no excuse for that. None! So no slack will be given.

    And for the Obama’s to be too busy to call the family if this American hero, there is no excuse. And it will not be forgotten or forgiven.

  3. chip98404 says:

    Mahakala says:
    “There is no excuse for that. None! So no slack will be given.”

    That should be a decision that the family of Sgt Collins has to make, not you.

  4. cbretth says:

    Sen. Cantwell can be forgiven for forgetting this American hero’s name in a short note to his family. I guess we all make mistakes.
    As far as her support of the military goes, not so much! She vote for a military budget that reducce the housing allowance and gave the military the smallest raise inthe last 30 years. Most of the young Marines, Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Coast Guards man qualify for food stamps for their family. Where is Sen Cantwell’s support for these service members and their families? She has voted to give our tax dollars to foriegn countries, as aid, and they hate us. How about helping our own for a change!

  5. “That should be a decision that the family of Sgt Collins has to make, not you.”

    Sgt Collins represented all of us in his service, thus an insult to him is an insult to all citizens.

  6. I remember once hearing a wise man say, ” it is a fool who takes offense where none is intended and an even bigger fool who takes offense when it is intended.” Senator Cantwell is also a representative of us all but that doesn’t mean that what she says or does reflects upon me. Her letter was from her to Sgt Collins’ family. My sympathies go out to them regardless of another’s mistake.

  7. TheBish10 says:

    It was an honest mistake. She meant no disrespect. When my brother died in Viet Nam we got nothing except a telegram saying he died,
    This is between her and the family of the fallin.

  8. Daisydog says:

    A statement from a communications wonk simply is not the same thing as an actual apology from Cantwell. I have no doubt of her genuine concern, but still, don’t ya think an article about how she called them up, said “I f’d up” something along those lines would work a bit better?

    I do know what it is like to receive “the telegram” TheBish10 spoke about, what it’s like to get a letter from the Governor, General Westmorland, and even the local mayor. They all managed to spell his name correctly.

  9. Daisydog says:

    here’s the missing “e” in Westmoreland….

  10. As much as I don’t like her, it’s a typo.

    Nothing to see here…

  11. aranciata says:

    I question her sincerity, and that is not arrived at in a vacuum. I have read letters to disabled people who were asking for her office to give some assistance in getting local agencies, such as Cities, to correct ADA affected, municipally built and designed, facilities. Some of them paid for by State Motor Vehicle Fuel Taxes administrated by the State Transportation Board (TIB).

    So these people, through their fuel taxes, were in effect paying for facilities that by federal definition discriminate against them by having features that bar their use of those facilities and when they ask Maria Cantwell if it would be possible for her office to look into doing something to get this corrected she gave them a one page form letter that is in effect the equivalent to a one fingered salute.

    By the way, there were “wounded warriors” among those who’s letters and responses I have seen, and although they did not so identify themselves as such, because they thought to do so would be superfluous, they were given the cold shoulder – which, I guess is all anyone can expect from a stone cold politician.

  12. fatuous says:

    “A statement from a communications wonk simply is not the same thing as an actual apology from Cantwell.”

    It looks to me that’s exactly what she did. Maybe you need new glasses.

    “Senator Cantwell has spoken with both of the fallen soldier’s parents to convey her respect and deepest sympathies”

  13. tjnpuyallup says:

    @Blair… I’m not particularly versed in Sen. Cantwell’s veteran record, but I always wonder when someone says an elected official has been a supporter of veterans, what does that mean? Is their an anti-veteran caucus in the U.S. Congress?

    I’d prefer she made the decision to no longer use formletters. I have a bigger issue with that. This isn’t Vietnam. We don’t have 50k causulties (thank God). In the last 8 years, I don’t think it would have been to much trouble to handwrite, at most, a couple hundred notes to WA’s fallen soldiers. I’m guessing a few hundred major donors to the Dems have gotten handwritten notes from Sen. Cantwell.

  14. heres the problem, the vets know that cantwell and murray has no respect for them,its painfully obvious their view of the world is diametrically opposed to whatever values they have. now its just confirmed!

  15. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Only when I hear an apology from this sorry excuse for a Senator for blindly following the marxist in the White House in his efforts to destroy the country domestically and internationally will she get a pleasant word from me!!! Now we have confirmed why she has always been referred to as Maria-Can’t-do-well!!

  16. jmevanston says:

    Cantwell and Murray have always respected and served Vets well, voting for expanded funding for the VA, enhanced pay and benefits for those currently serving, and most importantly – funding to get those serving our country the proper equipment and protection so they can be as safe and possible while on the front lines, which they regretfully lacked during long stretches of the Iraq War.

    On the issue of this letter, I think it’s an unfortunate mistake, but nothing to hold against Senator Cantwell. I’m sure the letter was drafted by a staffer and the mistake wasn’t caught by anyone, including Sen. Cantwell, before being sent out. Apologies are certainly in order, but after this I’m sure it won’t happen again.

  17. Alison7613 says:

    People make mistakes. Give Cantwell a break. Besides, shouldn’t we be drafting letters of apology to all the innocent civilians we are murdering in Afghanistan and Iraq? This war….a total nightmare. I support our troops. I support bringing them home.

  18. Daisydog says:

    At what point do you draw the line for making mistakes? What become acceptable in formal communications? Cut her some slack? Nope. Sorry, there are some things in which no slack is allowed, ever, and a letter to a family in which the subject is quite serious, is one of those times. She couldn’t even take the time to proofread the letter before signing it. Guess I’ll be voting for Maria Antwell next time around–I won’t look at the ballot that closely, I’m a very busy person…….

  19. harleyrider1 says:

    We should give credit to the office of Senator from our state for at least caring enough to send a form letter. Not many politicians even do that. We would have more respect for the person holding that office if they actually did it themselves.

    Some Presidents insisted on writing their own letters or picking up the phone and calling families of slain soldiers. A few even attended as many funerals as they could.

    Our Senators should personally do one or the other. I doubt they are more busy than one of those Presidents.

  20. bobbysangelwife says:

    I don’t give a hoot about someone’s political affiliation….all I know is that when we were having issues in Bliss–Sen Murray went above and beyond her stately duties to help my family…..and we weren’t even living in this state yet!! My dad and family lived here, we lived in NE at the time. Sen Murray didn’t have to give it a second thought when she received my dad’s letter along with my husband’s. She could have just said “talk to your people in NE, it’s not my problem”–but she didn’t. She stepped up, made ONE call to Bliss, and the next thing I know…things were flowing again, things were restored, and we were no longer stuck in limbo. I have nothing but respect and thankfulness to Sen Murray.
    Sen Cantwell…well this is what happens when you don’t lay eyes on something and read it over before you put your digi-signature on something. The backlash can be overwhelming.

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