Celebrities among us

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
In the last few weeks, America has been mourning the loss of quite a few celebrities; from those who sold us products like laundry detergent and life insurance to musical icons who the nation watched grow up before its eyes.

It amazes me how people who we've never had the pleasure of meeting can have such a huge impact on our lives.

Do you know who Maj. William Downs, Tech. Sgt. John Chapman or Staff Sgt. Anissa Shero are? Chances are you don't unless you're a family member, friend or coworker. These three are just a few of thousands of servicemembers who have died defending their country since Sept. 11, 2001.
You may have passed them once in the gym and never even know it. Maybe you saw them in the commissary or base exchange but now you can't recall their face.

These three, and others like them, knew they were fighting for and could potentially die for everyone they came in contact with on a daily basis - the man at the bakery, the woman at the drycleaners and even the neighbor who doesn't pick up after his dog. They gave the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we can continue to live in a country where we can worship or not worship whomever we please. We can bear arms, peacefully protest and speak freely, thanks in part to them.

These were people who had families and children just like you and I. They picked their children up from daycare. They brought covered dishes to church potlucks. They studied for promotions and took college classes after working all day. They picked out birthday and anniversary cards for loved ones. They trained for their missions, all the while knowing there was no guarantee they would return home.

There's no question as to whether Americans are grateful to those who serve. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago I was working at an event downtown that honored a local military member. There were mobs of people gathered there to celebrate the Airman who was being recognized for his service. As I was escorting the honoree, a family from England came up to us and shook our hands, gave us hugs and even took pictures with us.
The mother took my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, "Thank you for all you do for your country and for the whole world. We don't celebrate our military back home the way you do here, but I hope that we will start."

At that moment, I think I caught a glimpse of what it's like to be a celebrity.

Webster's Dictionary defines celebrity as a state of being celebrated, and in my opinion, our fallen servicemembers definitely deserve to be celebrities.

Human life is valuable and important whether you're an entertainer or a weapons loader. So while we remember those we never knew but whose lives impacted us in a major way, let's also remember those who never knew us but died for us anyway.