What The Heck Is Happening To America?

March 19, 2009

This morning I returned to work, following a few vacation days and was horrified after reading an article in my email box. So much so, that I felt compelled to write about it. I’m extremely disillusioned and honestly, quite appalled about the things that we as Americans consider important. Things have definitely changed since I was raising my children as well as the way I was raised. Have we forgotten about the ideals that this country was founded upon? Have we forgot about why the United States of America is the greatest place on earth to live? If what occurred on a recent commercial flight is any indication, then we as Americans have our priorities all screwed up!

On the flight in question, a flight attendant posed a challenge to the passengers. What was the challenge you ask? To name just 1 of the 5 people who have been awarded the Medal of Honor since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have begun. I’ve featured stories about each of them, here at A Soldier’s Mind. If the passengers could do so, they would be awarded a free drink coupon. Sounds easy enough, right? You might be surprised and as appalled as I was, at what happened. It definitely makes you wonder what is being taught to the children of this country. Where are priorities lie and just plain what is happening to our country.

Of approximately 150 passengers aboard the flight, only 1 person was able to name a Medal of Honor recipient from the recent conflicts. Only one person? Folks that’s sad. Our military holds a very important piece in this country’s history and only 1 person could provide an answer. For myself, that is extremely embarrassing to think that we’re raising a generation of young men and women and not teaching them the important things about the history of our country. The adults on that flight should be ashamed of themselves. What’s even more frightening is that some of these people and perhaps eventually their children, may hold very important positions in the country. Who knows, one of them may be a future President. Scary huh? I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want someone like that in charge of my country! It’s an outrage, and a disgrace!

“Dale Shelton, an Annapolis, Md., resident who served five years as a Navy intelligence specialist, was the only passenger to press the button over his seat to beckon the attendant. Shelton’s response: Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, the first Medal of Honor recipient in the global war on terror and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Smith received the highest military honor for valor posthumously on April 3, 2005, two years to the day after saving more than 100 soldiers in the battle for Baghdad’s airport. His young son and widow accepted the award on his behalf during a solemn White House ceremony.

The flight attendant gave free drink coupons to Shelton, as well as his wife, Jean, and two other traveling companions. Then he returned to crew area to announce over the intercom that only one person had correctly answered the challenge.

This time, the attendant offered a second challenge: “Name an ‘American Idol’ winner.” The cabin lit up like a pinball machine as 43 passengers scrambled to push their attendant call button. Passengers named various Idol winners.

The attendant announced that he wasn’t going to award drink coupons for that answer, telling the passengers that “naming an Idol winner was not worth a free drink,” Shelton recalled”1

What’s wrong with the priorities in this country? Instead of ensuring that our children know about the history of our country and the men and women who keep it safe, we encourage them to idolize fictional heroes on television, video games, sports celebrities and people in the acting and musical fields. Something’s wrong with that picture, don’t you think? Something’s wrong when we know the names of those people, yet can’t name one military hero! It’s a disgrace and I for one am upset, disgusted and embarrassed for this country.

After Shelton was able to name a Medal of Honor Recipient, the flight attendant asked Mr. Shelton if he could name the other 4 recipients of the award. Mr. Smith was able to accurately name 4 out of the 5, forgetting to mention Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who gave his life on April 15, 2004 by using his body to shield his fellow Marines from a hand grenade. He regretted that he had forgotten Dunham’s name.

“The flight attendant didn’t hold Shelton’s memory lapse against him though. “He gave me all the remaining drink coupons he had in his possession and shook my hand,” Shelton said.2

Recently the Department of Defense created a page paying tribute to the 5 service members who have been awarded the Medal of Honor during the Global War on Terror. Yes I can name all 5 of them. They are: Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, Army Spc. Ross McGinness, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham and Army SFC Paul R. Smith. To view the DoD’s Medal of Honor Heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan webpage, follow this link. Please encourage everyone you know to visit this site and learn about TRUE American Heroes. Hopefully they’ll impart this knowledge onto their children as well.

  1. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=53536 []
  2. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=53536 []


5 Responses to “What The Heck Is Happening To America?”

  1. TetVet68 on March 20th, 2009 8:06 pm

    America’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 100th year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, USN (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, “The Day of Infamy”, Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

    Visit my photo album tribute:


    San Diego, California

  2. Richard Lewis on March 21st, 2009 4:59 pm

    I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t name any Medal of Honor recipients when I was a teenager in WWII. I don’t think I knew about Audi Murphy until after the war.

    And even more embarrassing, I can’t name any in the Korean War, even though I was a doggie in Truman’s miserable Army in Korea.

  3. Louise W Clutterbuck on March 23rd, 2009 8:37 am

    23 March 2009

    When did we begin charging our men and women for their medical

    This is absolutely unbelievable. How can we ask our men and
    women to fight for our freedoms and charge them when they are
    wounded in battle. We must do better than this. I am very ashamed
    of our Congress persons who would stoop so low….

    What the HECK is going on here?

    Louise W Clutterbuck
    Columbia, SC

  4. Andrew on March 29th, 2009 7:32 pm


    Thank you for your courage in speaking up. There are so many whys in today’s military policy. Unfortunately, the answer to most seems to be because the Pentagon can get away with it and keep more profit for themselves. If you truly want to fight against it, please join CAMMMO.org

    Director, CAMMMO.org

  5. What The Heck Is Happening To America? < It’s all about the trends on May 16th, 2009 8:38 pm

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