Friday, February 23, 2007

Gordly Apologizes to Soldier's Mother

Showing once again that no good deed goes unpunished, this morning Independent Senator Avel Gordly (SD23) released an apology to the mother of PFC Ryan Hill, killed in Baghdad on January 20th and a former resident of Keizer. Although clearly intended as a way to highlight the tragic death of another of Oregon's own, it appears that Hill's mother took offense to his inclusion in a press release that otherwise represent a vote of no-confidence on the Iraq war.

Gordly Chief of Staff Sean Cruz runs his own blog, and reprinted the original release of February 4th that started the commotion:
This morning, the funeral procession for Private First Class Ryan Hill, only 20 years old, began at the front steps of the Oregon State Capitol.

Private First Class Hill was a member of the United States Army and he resided in Keizer, Oregon. He died Saturday, January 20 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Once again, flags will are flown at half staff. Once again, our Governor will stand with a military family at a gravesite.

Once again, Governor Kulongoski will pray that this funeral service will be the last, as he has done more than seventy times since the beginning of the Iraq catastrophe.

Once again, a bereaved family sheds tears that will have no end.

Private First Class Hill was at the front, on the leading edge of the “surge” into Baghdad that you, Mr. President, have ordered our troops to perform.

On the same day that Private First Class Hill was laid to rest, Exxon Mobile announced that it had—for the second year in a row—the most profitable year in American history, and that it did so despite a decline in earnings in the last quarter of 2006.

Your war strategy has depended upon using and re-using the same military personnel and the same military families over and over again, and the nation says “Enough.”
As I said, although I can find no media mentions of her reaction, quite obviously Mrs. Hill was offended, because this is what came out today:
I am prayerfully and publicly offering this apology to Shawna Hill for including her beloved son’s name in a communication from my office in opposition to the war in Iraq.

I understand that this young man wanted to serve his country and was dedicated to the mission in Iraq. I respect that he served honorably and courageously.

I deeply regret that my words caused pain to the Hill family.

I aspire to be impeccable in my use of language, but in this case I failed.

Avel Louise Gordly

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

I gather that Mrs. Hill is unfathomably still a war supporter, even after receiving her son's broken body in a box, with just a folded flag and a salute for her trouble--maybe condolences from the Governor. I can't pretend to know her pain, but it seems to me that both Hill and Gordly feel Ryan's death is a tragedy, and there ought to be more common ground there. Perhaps Mrs. Hill feels that Gordly's opposition to the war demeans her son's service, and while I can't agree with that at all, hopefully the apology will put the matter to rest. Not the war unfortunately, just the controversy.