Kobe and KIAs: Equal sadness and inspiration

Phil Briggs
January 31, 2020 - 4:38 pm
Kobe Bryant and a military funeral

Harry How/Getty Images


Its been a tough week.

We lost basketball legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter and seven other wonderful Americans in a helicopter crash. 

A recent event that received less news coverage, was the tragic loss of Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore, who was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria. The deaths were equally tragic, yet the discussions of both beloved Americans are radically different in size and scale. 

As the memorials for Bryant grew, and national television cameras focused on famous athletes, actors and even Presidents, it was clear that his death would become a larger conversation than Moore's. As the celebrity-military divide grew larger, some like Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command took to social media to express their dissatisfaction.  

Evans, who later wrote, "I think my detractors here made my case for me - no one life is any more important than another - regardless of the celebrity," was grilled in the comment thread by military and civilian alike.  But the words "no one life is more important than another" are worthy of remembering during times like these.

I saw another quote on Facebook that nicely summed up how we can equally mourn the loss of our fellow Americans. Marine veteran and AMVETS Cheif Strategy & Advocacy Officer, Sherman Gillums Jr wrote, "It’s not that Kobe’s life meant so much more than anyone else’s. But maybe it will re-sensitize us to the reality that we‘ve had citizens who served in uniform tragically die not that long ago."

Maybe we all need some re-sensitizing.  

For those who bemoan the fact that more people recognize Bryant than the name of their loved ones who died while serving our country, I hope they remember that nobody is saying he is more important.

And for those who are saddened by Bryant's death, maybe they will also sense just how many great Americans are lost each year.

Most importantly, I hope every tough news week will re-sensitize all Americans to stop arguing, and start appreciating the time, and the people we have left.

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