Two men died that day. One had lived twice as long as the other. The older one had accomplished much in life. The younger had barely started living. One was an icon. The other was barely known, even in his own hometown. Both followed in their family's footsteps. One had been married several times. He had children. The other hadn't experienced that much life yet. Both died before their parents did. One died alone. One was surrounded by friends. It took more than a week for either one to be buried. One died of causes that are not yet known. The other died instantly and everyone could see what took his life.
It's amazing really.
On June 25th, Michael Jackson died in his home. Some reports say he was alone, others say his doctor was with him. It is not yet known what caused his cardiac arrest, although it looks like drugs are a good possibility. Michael was fifty years old. He'd been married several times and had three children. He was in the family business of entertainment. He sold record numbers of recordings and videos and the whole world has mourned him. It was two weeks after his death before details were in place for his funeral and memorial service. And then the world sobbed as it said goodbye.
Brian Bradshaw also died on June 25th. Brian was a twenty-four year old young man from Steilacoom, Washington. Brian was a search and rescue volunteer, an altar boy and a camp counselor. He also followed in his family's footsteps. The only media coverage Brian's death got was from his home town.
Brian was something else as well. He was a Lieutenant. And he was kill in Afghanistan. Brian's mom was a retired army nurse, and his dad was a national guard helicopter pilot. Brian was described as having old-fashioned values. He believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk. Brian died for his country. He died for freedom.
He died for Michael Jackson's freedom. You see, our military protect our freedoms every day. They protect this great country, where someone can rise to the top of the entertainment world, where they have the freedom to make as much money as they want to work at making. Where people have the freedom to devote themselves to something as temporal and fleeting as fame.
Brian died for Americans who devoted their time to mourning their fallen idol. Brian died so that we could be free to say that the most important thing in our life is mourning Michael Jackson.
It's really hard for me to wrap my head around the irony. Yes, I think the hoopla over Michael Jackson is too much. It's all out of proportion to the things in life that really count. Michael made a lot of money doing what he wanted to do. And yet, he possibly died trying to seek more relief and/or satisfaction from the easy access his status gave him to drugs that he shouldn't have been messing with.
Brian may not have been known or mourned by many. But I think in his twenty-four years, he accomplished more than Michael Jackson did. His death had meaning. More importantly, his life had meaning.
Can we get a little perspective here?