Gold Star families find the truth is also a casualty

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As someone who’s spoken with a few grief-stricken and frustrated family members of dead soldiers, I can back the premise of the latest installment on the Star-Tribune’s series on military suicide–“After suicide, Army silence, censors heighten survivors’ pain.” When the Army stonewalls, it hits these people in a hurtful way, compounding their grief with suspicion, confusion and rage. The Minnesota Star-Tribune’s story highlights a disturbing clash — between families searching for the answers that will help them heal and the closed-mouthed military.

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While the Star-Tribune focuses on soldier suicides, an independent documentary released this year, “A Second Knock at the Door” explores this phenomenon and friendly-fire incidents. Which friendly-fire casualty Pfc. Dave Sharrett’s father David Sharrett points out, nobody wants to talk about.

“Quarterbacks don’t like to talk about the interceptions they threw,” Sharrett said.  “Running-backs don’t like to talk about how many fumbles they had. The Army doesn’t want to talk about friendly fire because it’s embarrassing.”

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(For more on the Sharrett case, check out Tom Jackman’s ongoing series in the Washington Post’s State of NoVa blog.)

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