The first time Forrest Buckwald saw Anthony Davis, he was 8, peeking in the door of Buck's Gun Rack. Buckwald didn't know he'd eventually become a foster father to a boy who would give his life for his country.
An Army Ranger serving with 1st Battalion, Staff Sgt. Davis of Daytona Beach was conducting combat operations in Northern Iraq when he was killed during heavy enemy fire Tuesday. This was his sixth combat deployment, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"What do you want?" Buckwald recalls asking the young child some 20 years ago. "He said, 'Can I do something for a Coke?' He picked up pieces of paper in the parking lot, and I gave him a Coke," Buckwald said Wednesday. "It was during the summer, and he came back and asked again. I offered him a make-work job, and he was one of the best employees I ever had."
The relationship deepened through the years, as Buckwald befriended Davis' mom, Ellen Davis, and her other children, Paris and Nakischa, who now is an Army staff sergeant in Fayetteville, N.C.
"He (Anthony Davis) went on vacation with us. I sent him and his brother (Paris) to camp for a couple of years. Then, I became a defacto father to him and did all the stuff it took to raise a great young man," Buckwald said.
Davis, 29, lived on and off with Buckwald during a successful Seabreeze High School career as No. 21, a running back, on the Sandcrab football team. He became very popular with the girls, Buckwald said.
"He went from a ragamuffin kid with a crooked smile to being an extremely handsome young man," Buckwald said. ". . I loved him so much."
The above is from Audrey Parente's "Daytona man killed in Iraq" (Daytona Beach News-Journal) on Staff Sgt. Anthony D. Davis who "died Jan. 6 in Northern Iraq, of wounds suffered when he was shot by enemy forces." The illegal war is 'over' -- say the wags. The Iraq War is not over. It's not anywhere near over. But it's just been so very difficult for Americans to tear themselves away from CSI and American Idol for a few seconds each week to note Iraq for the last six years and don't they deserve a holiday, damn it? Don't they!!!!!!!
The stupidity factor is just really amazing. The treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement does not end the illegal war. The broadcast networks decision to pull out of Iraq does not end the illegal war. Barack maybe pulling out 'combat' troops in 16-months does not end the illegal war.
As long as US forces are stationed there (for anything other than guarding the embassy*), the illegal war continues. And as long as it continues, an Anthony Davis can die. Or a Tony Jerold Gonzales. The Modesto Bee (link has text and it has video of the funeral service) reports the 20-year-old soldier died from a bombing in Sadr City December 28th "two weeks away from coming home to visit his family after an eight-month deployment."
Hey, maybe while we all pretend that the Iraq War is ending, we can also pretend that no one's dying there? Wouldn't that be a great trick!!!! We could probably enjoy Deal or No Deal even better, right?
Here's more on Gonzales (who was known as "T.J." to his family and friends). From the Gustine Press-Standard's "Family, community mourn serviceman:"
Gonzales, the son of Tony and Marlynn Gonzales, was the first service member from Newman to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Family members said Gonzales was in an Army Humvee en route to a mission in Sadr City when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle.
Gathered at the family home in the days that followed, his parents and three sisters remembered their son and brother with love and pride; a young man deeply patriotic and dedicated to serving his country.
Gonzales planned to follow in his father's footsteps, first into the military and then into a law enforcement career.
Tony Gonzales is a retired Los Gatos police officer whose son enjoyed accompanying him to work, and has always been deeply proud that his son also wanted to become a police officer.
"Tony keeps saying, 'What more could a dad ask than a son who wants to follow in his footsteps?'," Marlynn Gonzales remarked. "He was even going to apply to Los Gatos. They told him he had a job waiting for him."
There will be many more TJs and Anthonys. Hopefully, like these two men's families, the survivors will be able to make sense of it and find peace. Anthony Davis' mother is very clear that she is proud of her son and proud of his service in the military. That doesn't make it any easier to bury her son. It doesn't make it any easier when his next birthday rolls around. Or when she wakes up from a dream some mornings and isn't really sure they were dreams. Maybe it was Anthony? (I'm not making fun of her. Those are common dreams when someone you love dies. I had them when my husband died. And for a moment or two, you think they're alive and you're so happy they're alive even though you may not realize why you're so happy -- e.g. you may not remember the death. Then comes the moment when the whole world just collapses and you realize it was dream.) It's never over. And, throughout the country, families who remain for the Iraq War and ones who are against it (and mixtures), have lost loved ones and will continue to do so as long as the illegal war drags on.
That's reality and playing some name-game where you call a soldier a "police trainer" or whatever you want to call him or her doesn't make them any safer nor does it make them home where they belong. Barack loves playing games. This is from Jesse Hathaway's "Obama's Cabinet picks not indicative of 'change' agenda" (Ohio's The Post):
Lately, President-elect Obama has been doing more back-flips than an underage Chinese gymnast in an Olympic competition. After spending time in the spring mocking her for claiming she had foreign policy experience, Obama picked Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. Obama made enough political hay to fill a barn by reminding us that he opposed the Iraq war (as a lowly state Senator), but now turned around and told Secretary of Defense Robert Gates -- a holdover from the Bush administration no less -- that he's got a job after January 20. Tom "Puff" Daschle, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Senate Minority and Majority Leader under Bill Clinton’s reign, has experience in the lobbying field, but zero experience in the medical field. The closest he's ever come to being a doctor is lobbying Congress on behalf of big pharmaceutical companies.
Which brings us to a question. In "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (year in review)," the following appeared:
Barack's 'fabled judgement' is a fantasy and, yes, a fairy tale. Why the campaign 'recreated' the speech in audio form online this year was a bit of a puzzler unless you saw the video. There was Barack giving that 2002 speech in front of a tiny, tiny group of people. He looked nervous, he paused frequently (and did his uh-uh-uh mannerism). His big speech was a joke and if the Hillary campaign made a big mistake, it was in not putting that video on TV during the primaries.
Team Obama was willing to absorb any criticism of vanity and recreate audio for that 2002 speech because Barack's performance was appalling. He was on the defensive (in front of an anti-war group of people) and he didn't attract a large following. If you've ever given a toast at a small wedding reception, you've spoken in front of more people than Barack did. And chances are, you didn't come off as apologizing for the words you were speaking.
A visitor e-mailed to note he saw a thing today at ____ which remarked on the speech and said no video existed. Which is it?
First, I had stated no video existed. That was the lie put out by Team Obama. When I began hitting on that over and over here, a friend with the campaign Fed-Exed me a DVD of the speech. I had no heads up it was coming or that it existed. When I watched the DVD (which might not have been the day it arrived because I may not have had time and I had no idea what I had been sent), we stopped saying that no recording of the 2002 speech existed.
I'm not naming the site because they're going by the public record (to a degree) and that's why they are wrongly saying that there is no public record.
What I wrote in the year-in-review is correct. The speech was not impressive and the campaign would prefer charges of vanity to people actually seeing that allegedly great speech. That was from the friend who sent me the DVD.
Whom I called tonight to ask, "Do I have some sort of exclusive?" Because I still have that DVD. Do I have the only copy? Should I figure out how you upload video to YouTube?
The bad speech only needed to be kept under wraps during the Democratic Party primary. They felt Hillary could have used Barack's speech (video of it) to her benefit. They weren't worried about John McCain (because McCain was for continuing the Iraq War -- to some degree, he stated it had been won, the press should have asked him when he planned to withdraw if the war was won) using it.
If you click here, you can see clips of the speech. And that's from March 2007. It's amazing that the press didn't do their job. NPR and all the rest filed stories of what a tragedy that the speech hadn't been recorded when, before they filed a single story, YouTube already had snippets of the speech demonstrating that there was a video record. (Yes, I made the mistake as well. When the campaign informed me otherwise, we stopped asserting that there was no video and began talking about the video.) And where did that March 17, 2007 video come from? The Obama campaign. As noted in the credits at YouTube. October 11, 2007, the New York Times was pushing the whine that there was no video of the speech, seven months after snippets were available on YouTube via the Obama campaign. A year after it was on YouTube, in March 2008, Don Gonyea (NPR) was claiming, "Even in this era of YouTube and camera phones, a recording of Obama's speech is all but impossible to find. The Obama campaign has gone so far as to re-create portions of the speech for a television ad, with the candidate re-reading the text, with audience sound effects. " But it was already up at YouTube and had been for a year. [Added: If the date is correct. I know nothing about YouTube. I'm told by my friend who worked on the Obama campaign that the date is correct but I don't know that for a fact.] Now maybe this is a recreation that the campaign attempted at some point before doing the audio recreation? That could be. I could have been lied to. But if they recreated, they hired extras and did such an amazing job that a friend who saw that speech and learned I had a copy sure thought they were watching the speech, even can pick themselves out in one of the tiny spectator shots (I can pick X out as well -- X or a dead-ringer/clone, talk about amazing casting!). So if that is indeed the video of the speech -- and the snippets show you the crowd, you're missing "uh-uh" and his especially nervous opening unless they're later in the video, I just watched the first 40 seconds to be sure it was what I had the DVD of -- it's one more indication of what a s**t poor job the press did of vetting Barack Obama. They repeatedly insisted that there was no video record of the speech but the campaign itself has posted snippets of it on YouTube. And, note, never asked that they be pulled.
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4221. Tonight? 4223. Just Foreign Policy lists 1, 307,319 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war up from 1,297,997.
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i hate the war