May 10, 2007

STOKLEY

At the Milblogs Conference, a gentleman from Free Republic told the story of standing outside the White House Correspondents' Dinner with a posterboard showing Cindy Sheehan and SFC Paul Smith. Everyone could place Sheehan, but only one journalist knew who in the heck Paul Smith was.

We have different priorities in the milblog community. We know who Paul Smith is. We know who Jason Dunham is. And we all know who Robert Stokley is.

Several bloggers have written about meeting Mr. Stokley this weekend, and it seems most of the exchanges went like this:

AWTM: "I am so sorry for the loss of your Son."

And I stood in front of Mr. Stokley with tears in my eyes. And much to my amazement, he grabs my hand.

Robert Stokely: "I need to thank all of you bloggers for giving me my life back, I have to be strong for my family, I need to be the rock, and you folks have given me a place where I can talk about Mike, and I do not have to be that rock...."

And I stood there in tears in front of Mr. Stokely absolutely at a loss, and feeling ashamed of them.

AWTM: "I need to thank you, because Mike gave all, and your family has really sacrificed more than most of us will ever feel."

Robert Stokely, then wrapped his arms around me and gave me a huge hug.

Milbloggers all know who Robert and Mike Stokley are; I wish everyone knew.

I spoke on my panel this weekend about an article I saw in our local paper. It turns out that one soldier who's been killed in Iraq was a high school friend of a local reporter. So this soldier was front page news, complete with high school photos and a glowing report of his life. I told the audience that every soldier -- fallen or still with us -- deserves the same pedestal. I don't want the war to only hit home when a journalist loses a friend; they all are front page news. Everyone should names like Smith, Dunham and Stokley.

Please take a few minutes to listen to what Mr. Stokley had to say at the Milblogs Conference. It will take your breath away. And if you don't know much about Paul Smith or Jason Dunham, make sure you read about them too. If there's anything the milblog community can do and do well, it's educating the general public about Someone You Should Know. We want names like Smith, Dunham, and Stokley to replace names like Hilton, Spears, and Lohan. Pass the word.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:31 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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