Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers
From left, Army Spc. Rudolph Hizon, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, and Spc. Brian Tabada.
March 10th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers

By Wayne Drash, CNN

It started with a Facebook status update. Upset at the media's coverage of Charlie Sheen, someone took up for American soldiers dying in Afghanistan.

"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."

The status update has since gone viral, shared by tens of thousands on Facebook. An abbreviated version is on Twitter.

When a friend of mine posted the message on her Facebook page, it was a sobering reminder of the news media’s failings of covering the Afghanistan war. I kept returning to the names of the four soldiers. Who were these men? What’s their story?

I started by calling the father of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt (pronounced WILL-fort) in Rosemount, Minnesota.

“I think it’s spot on,” Jeff Wilfahrt said of the viral post.

His 31-year-old son was killed while on foot patrol outside Kandahar on February 27, around the same day the Sheen media blitz kicked into high gear.

“From the Charlie Sheens to Lindsay Lohans, who are these people and what good have they done in society?” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “What are we collectively doing as a society? How do you wake people up?

“In part, sir,” he said, “I blame the press.”

Andrew Wilfahrt was a Renaissance man with an infectious laugh. In his obituary, his parents described him as “compassionate, smart and witty. He was an admirer, composer and player of music who believed deeply in art and humanity. Andrew was fascinated by math, palindromes, maps, patterns, mashed potatoes and the absurd.”

He was also anti-war - part of a “strong family of lefties” from Minnesota, his father said. Andrew stunned everyone when he announced two years ago he was joining the Army.

“He didn’t have a child and a wife,” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “In a way, he went over so that somebody with a young family wouldn’t die.”

The grieving father added, “He was a gay soldier.”

His son agonized over the decision to join the military because Andrew knew he’d have to keep his sexuality a secret. He kept quiet when he first signed up, but his fellow soldiers knew.

“Andrew told me one of the reasons he wanted to enlist was that he felt guilty as a civilian when so many men with wives and children were separated from their families," one of his comrades posted on Facebook. "He joined the fight so that guys like me didn’t have to. He is my hero, my friend, and I miss him. Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.”

Andrew’s younger sister, Martha, said the “least interesting thing” about her brother was his sexuality.

“Quite frankly,” the father said, “nobody gave a s*** he was gay. He was a good soldier.”

His mother, Lori Wilfahrt, told Minnesota Public Radio her son was an “interesting, wonderful young man” who joined the service because he was “looking for a purpose.” Andrew wanted to be with a “group of people that would be working together toward something.”

In a recent letter home, he told his mother that “everybody knows … [and] nobody cares” about his homosexuality. In combat, he rode with two other soldiers. One was African-American, the other from Hawaii. The unit called them "Team Minority."

“He was a gentle soul and he was very kind and compassionate,” said Lori Wilfahrt.

As Sheen’s every comment was dissected on TV and plastered across the internet, the Wilfahrts quietly buried their son.

“In exchange for a son, we got a flag and a bunch of medals,” his dad said. “That’s a helluva tradeoff.”

He’s torn by all that’s happened. Jeff Wilfahrt said he’s always been a peace activist and staunch opponent of war, yet he added, “I’m so proud of him and his service.”

His voice breaks. It’s likely his son is among the first gay soldiers to die in combat since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed in December. “I’d do anything to honor my son.”

'Truly an American hero'

From Texas to Nevada to California, three other families mourned loved ones mentioned in the viral post. I was unable to reach those families, but I pieced together these snapshots from local reports and Army news releases.

Spc. Brian Tabada was the youngest soldier honored in the Facebook status update. A fire support specialist with the 101st Airborne, he was killed February 27 in northeastern Afghanistan when his patrol was ambushed by insurgents using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

He joined the Army in 2008 and quickly earned an array of medals, including the Army Achievement Medal.

His mother met his flag-draped coffin at Dover Air Force Base and escorted her son’s body home to Las Vegas. Nevada’s governor ordered flags at half-staff.

“Tabada made the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever grateful,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a written statement. “I believe it is right to honor his life, service and his sacrifice.”

Spc. Rudolph Hizon, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native, was killed when insurgents attacked his brigade with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province.

A Bronze Star recipient, Hizon was best known for his radiant smile and love of life. Hizon enlisted with the Army in January 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan last October.

“I will always think of him as the happy and cheerful person he was,” Spc. Joshua Gonzales told Task Force Patriot public affairs. “I’m going to miss him dearly.”

“He is truly an American hero,” Tito Pong wrote on a Los Angeles Times obituary tribute page. “We are very proud of him and we are very much going to miss him.” Added Pfc. Lorien Rilate, “You had such a big heart and you always knew how to make someone feel better.”

In the eastern corner of Texas, residents in the town of Cookville honored Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, a father of two young girls. Mays, a member of the 10th Mountain Division, was killed February 28 in eastern Afghanistan’s Wardak province.

A highly decorated soldier, Mays worked as an explosives ordnance disposal technician; the Army credits him with saving countless lives for disarming hidden bombs in the region.

“He was a leader who led from the front,” Army Sgt. Chandara Hak told Task Force Patriot public affairs. “He was always careful, but never fearful. I will do my best to follow in his example.”

Army Capt. Aaron Teller said Mays epitomized the best of the American soldier. “He would give you the shirt off his back without hesitation.”

Those were traits Mays displayed even in high school. "He cared about people and worked hard to encourage them," his teacher, Josh Stegall, said at a memorial service. "He lived to serve."

Since February 26, when the Sheen story began dominating headlines, at least 13 U.S. troops have died in support of the Afghanistan war. Besides the four honored in the Facebook post, seven others were Sgt. Kristopher Gould, 25; Spc Christopher Stark, 22; Pfc. David Fahey, 23; Spc. Jason Weaver, 22; Cpl. Jordan Stanton, 20; Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 31; and Pfc. Kalin Johnson, 19.

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and Airman Zachary Cuddeback were killed in a March 2 attack on troops at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

Italian Lt. Massimo Ranzani, 36, and British Lance Cpl. Liam Richard Tasker were also killed in Afghanistan in late February and early March. Another British soldier whose name has not been released was killed Wednesday.

As I looked at the names of those who’ve died in the last two weeks, I thought about my phone conversation with Jeff Wilfahrt.

“Get this on the front headlines,” he said, “and make people aware of what’s going on.

“That’s what I’d do if I was king. But I'm just an unemployed 58-year-old man in Minnesota who misses his son.”

Check out’s Home and Away special dedicated to fallen troops

Filed under: Casualties • Kandahar • Troops
soundoff (1,233 Responses)
  1. DallasMarine

    Service and sacrifice is something civilians will never understand, no matter how many books on the military they read. We can't expect them to give the military the real credit they deserve so it's no surprise at the media's bad taste is "news coverage".

    March 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fred

    As for myself, I am fed up with constant news coverage of Sheen, Lohan and other celebs. Who are these people? They are NOBODY's as far as I am concerned. I just can't imagine why a major news network, would think seeing Sheen all doped up, is even for one minute, news. I have switched channels to try and find someone that reports the days events, that are truly news. All is can say is Sheen, Lohan and others are not completly stupid, look at all the FREE publicity they are getting.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Deck

    Salerno, get a life...if you dint like America/american soldiers....then leave

    March 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Someone who cares

    A Soldier in Ga. needs prayers tonight. Sgt. Phillip Casey lost his leg yesterday in Afghanistan during patrol when a IED went off. He has a fiance and a small daughter. Everyone lets not just keep him and his family in mind, but every other Soldier who is out there and on foreign soil.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    here's whats ironic: it took social media to spread actual news when an actual news source(CNN) was spreading social media

    March 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JSmith

    "America is not at war. The military is at war, America is at the mall."

    March 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Name*Liss00

    Thank you is not even enough. They made the ultimate sacrifice.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. logan

    All of you were willing to send these young men to die, but now you'd rather pay attention to what stupid BS Sheen is up to, that is what is wrong with your country.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sunny

    God Bless these Soldiers!! SPC Hizon was not even a US citizen just yet but he still joined the United States of America's Army to protect us!! He would say he is not a hero - then what is? I am saddend to think it took someone on Facebook to get the word out on these beautiful young men, but then its hard I guess.... for the news channels not have a down and out celebrity to bring rating to their website. RIP in peace Army Spc. Rudolph Hizon, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, and Spc. Brian Tabada RIP

    March 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eric Spears

    The coverage of Charlie Sheen is f-ing stupid, but so is the idiotic idea that the coverage somehow takes away from coverage of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan. It's all f-ing stupid.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Soldierusa

    Why are they covering that idiot Charlie Sheen anyway he's a nobody. Our troops are dying daily over there they should get recognition.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    Sir first off. I am very sorry for your loss. How lucky we are as Americans to have people like your son on our side is why regardless of the struggles here, people like your son remind us that during these times once a war starts we are all brothers and sisters.. No race, No status matters.. I'm not trying to start an argument, and i'm as guilty as everyone else that catches themselves spending a couple hours a day reading about someone that was on a tv show, a singer etc. When our new should be covering the struggles we are having here and adding a story for every brother and sister that has fallen. As we know we only live once, and we should know or at least have the opportunity to learn our brother and sisters story. They deserve that much.. I understand

    March 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Alicia D

    My condolences to the families... I hear your story.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. W. S.

    My sincere sympathy to all the families of these brave men.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Roger


    March 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Irwin

    Welcome to the mainstream media! If the pols aren't talking about it. do you really think our cowardly media will cover it?? Especially with a Dem in the White House there's harmony on the war, so who cares about the lives on both side that are sacrificed. Hopefully one day the American people will rise up like their brave counterparts in Egypt (and in Wisconsin).

    March 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  17. davis07

    Mr Wilfahrt,

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. I do not know how you feel, but again I am very sorry. I don't know your son but I am proud for what he stood up for. He really is a Hero and I think a lot of other people will agree. So from one soldier to another HOOAH! He really is a great person.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Reason & Logic

    Better idea, bring all our troops home and end this occupation which is not accomplishing anything!

    March 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mr. Melt DOWN

    cnn you didint post my last post your a bunch of worms Just like Charlies words "your NOT WINNING" wormes

    March 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. y


    condolences to all your families and thank you for your sacrifices.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  21. mary roe

    So many brave young men. I'm tired of hearing about spoiled, self-centered brats who never sacrificed for anyone. Just to remind everyone, we were attacked and we have a fine tradition of fighting our battle on other peoples soil.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  22. EmilyS

    Ummmmmmm...HELLO?! Literally right below this cover story on the same page says " Sheen sues Warner brothers, Chuck Lorre." What a joke. Make up your mind, sellouts.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Disgusted with warmongers

    No sympathy for the soldiers, especially the marine jocks; they've been the willing instruments of a toally flawed perpetual war which isn't working. Amazing how afterr ten years of war anyone could still support it...whoever does must be in total isolation or suffer from complete tunnel vision or is simply venal. All this crap about fighting for freedom and democracy is regurgitated rhetoric.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dick little

      just be glad they volunteered, otherwise you'd get a fine little letter known as a 'draft notice'

      March 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno


      March 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Matt

    Don't be surprised that soldiers are dead and money talks. The same people who do not want you to praise money support war so we can have people like Charlie Sheen. Bring all soldiers home and turn your t.v. off. All of this can stop.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Henry

    To all the parents, family, love ones. It's very heart warming to see and read the comments place in this article. As a father who loss a son in Panama and a second son in Iraq my heart fells for you all. But know one thing, our son's are all togeather in God's hands. My heart and love goes out to you all, I know the empty feeling you have but remember one thing your son's are hero's and are true AMERICANS.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  26. richard

    Right on these solders should be the ones in the news for thier service and not a drug addict who no one cares about anyway. and i am sorry the news shows cause a lot of the problems we face now. besides who likes to watch a news show where the host never lets anyone answer the question they ask and always and i mean always start talking befor they get an answer. we need to go back to news for 1 hour a night not all the time.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  27. John

    Although it is sad that these soldiers were killed, we must remember we are not "at war" in Afghanistan. We are occupying their country. The country of Afghanistan has in no way attacked the United States. There are rebel groups that operate inside Afghanistan, but the same groups operate inside Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, etc... Bring the troops home, and stop wasting out tax dollars fighting a lost cause. Imagine if we spent the money we blow in a day in Afghanistan on improving homeland security. Maybe then we could prevent these terrorist cells from infiltrating our soil. We need to stop telling everyone else what to do and fix our own country.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  28. bob

    The Military should start using us 50 year old early retirees. We have had a great ride. It's a shame that we sacrifice our youths this way. I back Ron Paul and Kusinich, get our kids out of there.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Matt

    Soldiers dying are nothing new. That is what they signed up for. Not sure why any one is surprised by this outcome. Bring all troops home now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Money is what speaks in this world. Do not act astonished when some one rich gets attention and the soldier who is not rich(or she or he most likely would've not signed)gets less attention. Turn off t.v. and bring troops home. No t.v. no war. Give it a try.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • davis07


      You have no idea why an person signed on, if you don't like it so be it KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOURSELF! Don't talk about stuff you have no clue about.

      March 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Ray Porter

    I leave you all to your peace of mind and good will to all military personel

    March 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  31. jo

    Thanks you so much for posting this. Wow! Finally real news. I wish you would do this daily ond headline the people who have died in the wars each week. These people matter. If they don't matter enough to be put front page every week then what does matter and what are they fighting for–just to die in a war and not be noticed while they are there ? And then not to be remembered and paid attention to when they are gone?

    Are we just a country of individuals free to be concerned about whatever we choose, whatever delights and interest us? Are you a private press free to investigate whatever you all choose, free to cover whatever instigates and entertains, whatever brings in the ad revenue? If this is all we are, by all means, bring the soldiers home because they have nothing to protect.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Carole Clarke

    Watching Sheen self-destruct requires nothing of us – no effort, no donation, no action, no guilt. Acknowledging fallen troops requires more than we are evidently willing or able to give. To know they will come home in a body bag, never to be loved by their families and friends again is more than you can bear. We don't care about Sheen but even if we didn't know them, we knew them. They were our troops, our boys. They fell at our command. We trusted our government to do the right thing and more and more, it smells like Viet Nam.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Dwight

    Salerno is mostly correct. Sometimes the truth hurts. He's not afraid to say it.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Dwight – Thank you . You really understand what is the true courage.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  34. splasher6

    Welcome to the war America...a.k.a Tabloid Nation. peace

    March 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  35. cheryl

    II just want to say thank you for posting these pictures.bless them all who give there life for us.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      They gave the life for their wallet.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Truth

    The Soldiers are Bi-Losing. They are Losing in Iraq, They are Losing in Afghanistan.
    People like Winners, Charlie Sheen is Bi-Winning. He Wins here, He Wins there.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  37. AfghanMarine

    @2:13 in your video the seaman on the right hand side of the screen is a disgrace

    March 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  38. DLW, Mount Airy, MD

    One day, humanity shall evolve beyond war. The service of these young men, and the service of those who have died previously and those who are in harm's way today, on both sides of the conflicts of this world, are very much appreciated. I applaud the Mr. Wilfahrt for giving us his child. I am thankful for a father who loves his child, his children, and who grieves his passing from this life to the next life. It is my prayer that you can find comfort in knowing that this is not the end, and that just as it was said about Jesus, your son is alive, but simply in a different place. It is my prayer that you will develop the eyes to see him, and the ears to hear him. Through the pain of your grief, which you are bravely experiencing, you will find a peace that passes all understanding.

    One day we will truly "study war no more," one day when individuals will know that God resides in every one, that God takes no sides, that God allows the rain to fall on those considered just and those considered unjust, one day when we know the Divine within ourselves as individuals and the Divine within each one of ourselves, we see, we will study war no more. There shall be peace.

    Again, I want to thank every soldier who serves today and who has served in the past, to those who have given the sacrifice of life, thank you. I thank every family member, every father who lost a son/daughter, every mother who lost her child, every brother and sister, every relative, every child who lost a mother or father, every person, who serves this nation, and every soldier who serves the world. We love you and we want war to end.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  39. blessedgeek

    Afghanistan is a vital cause. No matter the snail's pace the progress of the war, how intransigent to change the people there are – we are holding them back.

    Iraq was a stupid war, contrived by an American president who restlessly needed more mature games after having grown out of computer games but not grown up from his dad's bosom.

    I respect soldiers who manage to keep alive in Afghanistan. I salute those who unfortunately had died serving there. Thank you. Thank you Secretary Gates for being a more effective and skillful manager and strategist than Rumsfeld. You should have been there at the initial stages. And Kerry should have been the President instead of that immature kid.

    BTW, I have no face book account so I don't know what the article is talking about on facebook "status update".

    March 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Dwight

    I was in the military back in 1969 to 1975 and the everyday American told me I was a low life piece of crap. I got no respect ( As Rodney used to say ) and I was treated like a criminal when I served the United States. The people of today "still" do not care for the man in uniform. Get used to it this will be normal forever.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Tony

    Thank you CNN for posting this article.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Mary

    Thank you for acknowledging the real warriors in our great country. The families have been given a real reality check with this incredible loss that will be with them forever.

    Thank you all warriors for your sacrifice by giving up the life you know to protect many lives you don't know. Forever in my prayers be safe.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Dianne and Mark

    I, too, am sick of hearing about Tiger Woods, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan.

    God Bless those who serve our Country all over the world! God bless and deeply hold close those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. God bless all the families everywhere who have lost those we love and admire for their service.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Jerry Lucas

    For those out there that do not like what has gone on in this war remember those who are fighting did not start this trash but, they have done the job for the oath they have taken. I wish our elected leaders would do the same. Just where are all the people about the no fly zone and the new war they want us in. Just asking

    March 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  45. AfghanMarine

    The fact the Salerno is posting hateful tripe is actually funny to me. I patrolled for 11 straight months in the khowst valley stationed at FOB Salerno in 2003-2004. Its about 12 miles from the Pakistan border and from the top of the mountains around the valley we could watch the fires of the Taliban burn at night. Very interesting...He's probably a specialist with network access stirring up some fun because his job behind his computer isn't all he could be.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      Afghan Marine. .. your post brought many picture to my mind like a movie. Brother you are so brave while seeing the enemy fire and still patrol. 🙂

      March 11, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  46. 3 Dog Mama

    About time that people woke up to realize what is important in the world today and it isn't watching a bunch of overpaid idiots acting like a bunch of kids. Coverage of athletes, celebrities, and the likes of them is so out of line that people forget the important things. I'm sick of the coverage of Sheen, Lohan, Gibson, Michael Jackson. People need to wake up and pay attention to the important things – and that is NOT overpaid athletes, actors, and others of that ilk.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Susan

    Agreed. The media "accent seems to be on the wrong syllable."

    March 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Lynda*

    Thank you so very much!! Since the first time I saw and reposted this as my status, I have wondered who these wonderful young men were. Thank you for taking the time to find out!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Sunil

    Oh my God, is the media actually going to a story on something worthwhile? Incredible! Its pathetic that a cracked out, former actor garners this much attention from us. Let's hope all that tigerblood he's been drinking has a side effect of shutting him up.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  50. beezus

    Apples to oranges.

    But unfortunately there are People and Star magazines, and most would rather read articles about todays celebrities than the newspaper.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Mike

    Hey -CNN, It's you they're talking about. It's easy to assign a writer to churn out one breast-beating mea culpa that you can proudly point to as your civic responsibility. How about some senior executives to explain why you have made the concious decisions to highlight celebrity dysfunction instead of writing about the realities of what our soldiers experience, and the pain and heroism of their families? How quickly would Charlie Sheen thankfully disappear if you didn't chronicle his sad descent with such gleeful gawking? Why do I see no sense of self awareness in this article?

    March 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Angela

    I am so glad someone put special emphasis on these Soldiers. It is a shame that so much garbage is plastered on the TV while the things that really matter just go by unnoticed. As a fellow Soldier, I given honor to all fallen Soldiers and their families. May the peace of God keep each of you always!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  53. wordsworth

    I heard a thousand blended notes,
    While in a grove I sate reclined,
    In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
    Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

    To her fair works did nature link
    The human soul that through me ran;
    And much it grieved my heart to think
    What man has made of man.

    Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
    The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
    And 'tis my faith that every flower
    Enjoys the air it breathes.

    The birds around me hopped and played:
    Their thoughts I cannot measure,
    But the least motion which they made,
    It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

    The budding twigs spread out their fan,
    To catch the breezy air;
    And I must think, do all I can,
    That there was pleasure there.

    If this belief from heaven be sent,
    If such be Nature's holy plan,
    Have I not reason to lament
    What man has made of man?

    March 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Jerry Lucas

    To all that have served and who now stand the line thank you and your families for that you do and have done.

    Jerry Lucas RN U.S Army Vet

    March 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  55. jayman419

    For the first time in years, women are allowed to have jobs and girls are allowed back in school. You can hear music again. Thousands of markets all over the country manage to stay open an entire day without anyone dying. No one is being told who they must worship. They are allowed to say they dislike the Prime Minister. They are allowed to vote.

    You don't think that's honorable work? What do you know of it.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |

    I'm proud to be an American and Although the C.S. thing did amuze me, I'm glad Wayne was able to bring me back to reality. Thank you to all those who fight and die for this country.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  57. TPF

    Bring our men and women home NOW. We should not even be over there, but these brave men and women are doing their country a great service to protect our freedom , that we so arrogantly take for granted. Charlie who cares? It sometimes appears as if our own government forgets we even have these wars going on. One life lost is one too many for these courageous people.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Norman macEachern

    Yeah , finally something realer than Hollywood.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Jackie Treehorn

    And after the very last word of this article, CNN's first recommended link is "Charlie Sheen going back to work."

    March 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  60. I Collier

    It is very sad that more folks forget what real news should be about these days.

    We have innocent lives lost every second of everyday yet there deaths continue to be forgotten.

    CNN please continue to not forget our soldiers. I do not forget as I drive to work, shop at a mall or even go for a walk. I am most grateful for my freedom they provide to me every day. My best friend never made it home from Desert Storm and it is like it was yesterday.

    I know the value of freedom and I am so luck and know what it means when I see our flag. I pray every morning that each and every one of our soldiers comes home safe. I pray that the families with the returning soldiers can withstand the long mental recovery. I hope that no matter where our soldiers are they understand they too can overcome the terrible scares from this awful war. No one wins everyone loses. God Bless Us All for peace.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • smokee

      you must be a very sad person in life if all you have on the forefront of your mind all day are soldiers dying. not everyone wants to live that way, miserable and helpless. don't force your misery on everyone else. thanks.

      March 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Anthony

        shut up

        March 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Andrew

    God Bless these soldiers! My prayers are with them and their families.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Ray Porter

    Charlie Sheen is a mediocre actor at best,I saw him ia viet Nam war movie and his best line was f***ing f***

    March 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  63. smokee

    Why do you need to force feed people who voluntarily click on their own interests this news? If they want to read about soldiers dying they will click those stories. If they want to read about Charlie Sheen they will. We have been a insulated country since forever, and some people here trying to dictate what everyone should have to read or pay tribute to is just pitiful. Soldiers that served our country are memorialized. You don't have to throw them in everyones faces as guilt trips or when any other news is more interesting to people. This is just sorry.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Army Wife KY

    I just have to say I'm a bit disturbed by a lot I've read here. My husband works his ass off and puts his life on the line everyday so certain people over here have the privelege to run their mouth. What these men and women go through on a day to day basis is heroic and they should be honored , regardless on whether you agree or disagree with the war. This is their job, have some damn respect! I don't even know if I agree with the war myself at times , but it is my job to support my husband and fellow troops. it be your job to if you were truly an American! As far as Charlie Sheen well screw him, theres too many people out there working their ass off for minimum wage, if their lucky to even have a job, so I don't feel sorry for someone who can't get 3 million an episode and whines about it! It sucks used to be a fan of his.
    Bless alll the families who have those serving overseas and to all the children who are missing their parents. May they come home safelt!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • army wife PI

      Instead of nonsense arguments..LET'S JUST PRAY FOR THE US TROOPS who are now deployed in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan..

      March 11, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  65. steve, tx

    I wish that the 'media' would stop talking about celebrities and talk more about how american soldiers who have died for "this country". The media is just fueling the celebrities that need to wake up and grow the hell up. If the media would just stop putting them on their shows they would wake up. And come on piers morgan I don't want to know from a celebrity about what's going on in the world, I want to hear from politician and soldiers that actually live it, not someone who acts about it. You guys need to leave the celeb issues to HLN.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Sandra

    I took part in the Facebook posting/reposting of this. Even the idea of a bipolar actor in need of an intervention getting more airtime than the names of our fallen soldiers is incomprehensible.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  67. prayn4peace it's sad that the media isn't covering the thousands of innocent civilians we're killing in Afghanistan, nine children being killed in the last week alone in one incident. These people have lives and families, too. None of these lives should have been lost, soldier or civilian. We need to bring our soldiers home. But when Charlie Sheen can acquire a million followers on Twitter within a 24 hour period, we have to wonder about our own priorities and why the media covers what it does.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • smokee

      seriously i bet most of you who say this don't have soldiers dying on the forefront of your mind in your day to day, only when it suits you in high horse mode. I'm sympathetic to soldiers dying but to force feed it and pretend thats what everyone should be focusing on all of the time is just typical of the people who always use patriotism as some guilt trip threat. Stop blaming Charlie Sheen or any celebrity news story that gets more coverage, nobody wants to read about deaths, war, and most of all be told what they should be reading by any hypocrite on their high horse.

      March 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  68. sugarshoes

    cnn, this should be your wake.up call to post actual news instead of using terms like 'BFF' on your headlines... this is not Teen People.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • smokee

      Don't read it then. Why is that so hard for some of you to do? I even prefer more real news but its just dumb how you all are trying to dictate what people voluntarily click on to read. You don't think people should be reading entertainment, trivial news, then why don't YOU not do it, and let others do as they please? Its also funny since half of you are probably the ones who supported Bush to go to war in the first place 😛

      March 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Nicole

    My sincerest condolences to all four families – we all need to work on ridding the world of the destructive three I's : Illiteracy, ignorance and intolerance.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  70. ASSASSINews

    Thank you! Let this be a vital lesson to the mainstream media. This is exactly why the non-tabloid reading public is so angry with you. This is exactly why ASSASSINews (d o t c o m) even exists. Please, please stop reporting on meaningless fluff and turn your attention to things that actually matter and impact lives. We greatly yearn for that old journalistic integrity that you threw away so long ago.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Karla Ramstad

    I too have given my only begotten son-and so it was told-and relived again and again!!!!! When will we ever learn?

    March 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Mario Pen

    As an active serviceman I would like to express my sincerest sympathies. Serving your country is one of THE most noble acts any man could do. To the families, I would like to say that your sons are not forgotten, even if the rest of America forgets completely about them in 5-10 years we will always remember our fallen comrades. God's grace be with you.

    And to people like salerno – buddy I would really like to be around you when you make a statement like that out loud in public!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Mark

    Mr Sheen has the ability to rehabilitate himself. What options do dead soldiers have?
    Hollywood gossip and scandals fuel the industry.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  74. CubanMom

    I have been DISGUSTED by CNN, and the rest of the MSM reporting every insanity that Sheen does or says! Each time I hear the name, I turn off the TV or change channels! ENOUGH about the druggie!

    The stories of our fallen soldiers are far more compelling. To CNN I say, ENOUGH of druggie actors! We do not care!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Ester Goldberg

    I did post this on my facebook and MY site.. I'm glad you guys picked this up cuz people reposted!!!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  76. NavyCorpsman

    CNN Should disable comments for this article. It speaks for itself and no one should be able to dishonor these men with harsh words. All Americians slaute these Hero's and I hope their fello soldiers give them a wonderful welcome into heaven..

    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Mary

    God bless all who serve

    March 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  78. mike page

    God bless you and your son, you are so right. Hell they should send sheen to Afghanistan give him a leathel DOSE of reality ,
    as a prior service man myself ,you have given us all a dose of reality don't stop. It's time the media got a big wake up call and honor the real hero the true American stars ,our soldiers

    March 10, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  79. mordy


    March 10, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  80. baconeater

    These soldiers died so that Charlie SHeen could make a fool of himself with free speech. They're bad for believing they signed up for "defending American freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq"....its all a bunch of crap.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  81. unreal36

    You know , it's funny that you, CNN, are calling attention to this. While I applaud you in your effort, let us not forget how you flood your front page with fluff pieces instead of informing we, the public, of what is really going on in this country.

    Hypocrisy? Oh just a smidge. More Americans probably know about Lindsay Lohan and her woes more than what is really going on in the world and you have a hand in that . So excuse me while I roll my eyes at you magnifying this Sheen coverage vs. other coverage.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  82. thomas

    yeah there is to much media now days and it all focuses on the stars bc it makes money.....ppl probably knows more the hollywood stars more than they know about there neighbor....ppl need to start worring more about there lifes instead of the holllywood stars....they are all prettty childish..most ship money over sees instead of helping out there fans that could use the money unless they can get a picture taken...u think they give about a dam about u they dont....

    March 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Doctor of Economics

    NOW CNN wants to focus on fallen soldiers, of course only AFTER the Charlie Sheen story was officially dead, OH YEAH and since we got a Democrat President. If anybody says Fox News is slanted, check THIS hot, stinking fish called CNN out.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Lisa In Alabama

    Thank you for covering a story on our Country's truest heros.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Horvath

    I have no clue why all you people care/watch all that Follywood crap in the first place. Who is wearing what, who is doing who, I can't believe that, Oscar that, Idol this, blah blah blah. Misplaced priorities. Who is at fault for Sheen receiving more attention than the soldiers: the media AND you in the first place for giving the media and Follywood the power in the first place.

    problems? cnncommentator at hotmail com

    March 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Dnagsintx

    I'm a 20-year Navy vet and was glad to see this article. And here's why. I was one of the thousands who made this my FB status at one point. And I don't usually do the whole "cut & paste" thing, because to me, I haven't honored anyone, or cured cancer or anything like that...I just cut and paste....and then moved on to the next shiny object in my day. I wish I had taken the time then to do a little research and find out about these Soldiers...and posted that as well. It's too easy to cut and paste. We need to not forget that these are real people with real lives and families and someone who's going to miss them because they aren't coming home. I think the best way to honor them is to learn who they were. This article does that, and to the author – thank you.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Shirley

    Thank you so much to our heroes! I am so grateful to you, and thank you sir for your Son's ultimate sacrifice to our grand country. Please know I am broken hearted tonight and have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers – I am a Navy Mom and a Marine Sister. As for Charlie Sheen what a POS person with 4 very small children who will eventually grow up one day and see the kind of person he truly is.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Tracy Nappier

    My condolences to all the families. Your sons gave all. Thank you @Wayne Drash for covering this story the best way possible and including other fallen troops. They all deserve honor and their news touches some of us, way more than that of an actor who means nothing to us, nor has done anything for his country, citizens or freedom. Quite simply an actor "acts"....your sons are the REAL news, role models and heros. May they rest in peace.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  89. baconeater

    These soldiers died so Charlie Sheen could make a fool of himself with free speech. Bless the USA!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Bre

    To Salerno,

    I'm not sure I disagree with Salerno's sentiments so much. America becomes more and more stupid to me every day, right before my eyes. WE (as in American Politicians) are causing half the problems in the world right now, but because we're BEING TOLD something different, i.e., the "brown" people are starting them (i,e, Muslims), we believe differently. America wouldn't have it any other way, killing our troops. They've always done it, it's a huge money maker. Sorry, but it's true. If you think Obama or George bush could give a " ", you're dead wrong. Besides, if Obama cared so much, if one if them mattered so much (to him), then we wouldn't be over there and would have pulled out of Afghanistan yesterday. Now our soldiers are just being used as heart string pieces in media, like entertainment. Sad.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      I can agree with your softer stance. But to arrive at this point you need to bracke the ice.

      March 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  91. laura from willis





    March 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Jin

    First of all, My deep and sincere condolences go to the family of Spc. Rudolph Hizon, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, and Spc. Brian Tabada. And seriously, Do we really need to know a news about charlie sheen and lindsay lohan? TO ALL NEWS MEDIA and PAPARAZZI: DONT YOU HAVE BETTER NEWS COVERAGE TO GO AFTER? These 4 heroic human beings went and gave their ultimate scrafice to defend our "FREEDOM". As of reading this article, I'm just furious about reading something about hollywood's star messed up life. These 4 soldier choose to go over to another country fighting for our freedom and people of Afganistan but these 2 numbskull decided to humiliate themselves to the public. May God bless our AMERICA and to the families of fallen soldiers.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Todd

    Sure jump on the bandwagon after being a huge participant in the affront. I for one am not fooled. How many headlines have included Charlie Sheen on the last month? Get your stuff together or look to merge with the Enquirer.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Mithun

    I'm Not an american, but i can fully understand the emotion behind this. Young people with their whole life to look forward to die fighting in some alien land protecting their country men, at the same time these drug addicted celebs dont realise how precious their life is. Long live soldiers across the world

    March 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Bob

    My prayers go out to the families and friends of these fine young, brave men. May they rest in Peace.

    As far as CNN, they are just as guilty as everybody else. Sheen's face has been plastered on their Homepage everyday for better than 2 weeks. And not one word about KIA's. Hypocrites.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  96. baconeater

    These soldiers died so that Charlie Sheen could make a fool of himself with free speech. God Bless the USA.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  97. dmm

    God bless the men & women (and their families) who put themselves out there for peace... Fighting for the human right, freedom.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      dmm ....well written .good post

      March 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  98. shane

    Your child died for the rest of us to live free. The weight of this is not lost on me.
    Thank you for your sacrifice.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      Shane..beautifully written

      March 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Nicole

    I'm so glad that I was a part of this. Stuff like this hits hard to home with my boyfriend & so many friends deployed right now. I saw the post on and then I went onto facebook to post it. I was so happy to see a bunch of my friends & family reposting it. God bless our troops.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  100. johnjohnson

    THey died so that Charlie Sheen can make an a$$ out of himself with free speech. God Bless America.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
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