Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What would 'Bucky' do?

I have been thinking about an answer to the question in the headline. I never met Army Spc. Brian 'Bucky' M. Anderson, but over the past while, I have come to know of him, his family, quite well.

Soldiers' Angels Honor the Fallen blog - maintained by a member of the SA Living Legend Team - has this to say about Bucky:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Army Spc. Brian M. Anderson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Brian M. Anderson, 24, of Harrisonburg, Va.

Spc. Anderson was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died June 12, 2010 in Za Khel, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his vehicle using an improvised explosive device.

Fort Drum - officials announced Tuesday that a 10th Mountain Division soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

The soldier is identified as 24 year old Specialist Brian Michael Anderson of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

A member of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, He died in Za Khel, Afghanistan, on June 12 from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive devise attack...(go here to read about the life of this fallen hero from those who know him the best.)

Bucky Anderson gave his all in service to his country just this last June, and as is only right, his sacrifice has been honoured by many.

Then yesterday, I come across this:

Bouhammer steps in to the Merwin/Anderson controversy

Posted By Bouhammer on November 1, 2010

Let me first say I know Clayton Merwin very well. I have met him and his family and believe 100% in what he is doing with the “Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan” graphic novel that I have a couple of stories in.

Over on YouServed Radio we have had Clayton on a few times highlighting the progress he has made with this project and the great work he is doing with it. Let me emphasize that Clayton has no family members in the military or that have served in the current wars. He is doing this because he has a gift/talent and wants to use it to support the troops and help tell their story. That is his total motivation.

Clayton recently took on another project because he felt it was the right thing to do. He decided he wanted to spearhead a project to memorialize the fallen soldiers from his local area. A soldier that fell not too long back is a Mr. “Bucky” Anderson from his local area. Clayton wanted to do something to highlight Mr. Anderson’s sacrifice and the other soldiers from the local area so he started an effort to build a memorial in recognition of Bucky and other fallen warriors. He approached the family about it and got an initial verbal approval. Again, let me highlight that Clayton has done this all on his own and for completely unselfish reasons. Only to highlight the warriors that protect his and all of our freedoms as American citizens.

The Anderson family has been taken advantage of (purely my opinion) by outside forces and made to believe that Clayton and his efforts to memorialize Bucky and others have been with a hidden and unscrupulous agenda.

We have interviewed Clayton several times on YouServed radio at www.blogtalkradio.com/youserved to get updates (Episode #112, Episode #110) . My good buddy CJ has pushed for our readers/listeners to contact county board members and other civil officials who have made themselves part of this controversy and try and understand why they are ruling against Mr. Merwin when it is not their place or without hearing both sides of the story.

I was recently made away of a Soldiers’ Angel volunteer who has a blog that lives in the nearby area who started writing about this situation so I went to visit the blog. After reading it over at http://kasee60.blogspot.com/2010/10/sadly-controversy-surrounds-memorial.html I decided to comment. Below is my comment on her blog entry. I think it explains pretty well where I am coming from.


I thank you for looking into this and not really coming to any uneducated opinions. Yes there is controversy around this memorial and sadly it has come from Bucky’s family who have let themselves get manipulated by outside influences.

As a host and blogger on Youserved.com, in addition to blogging at bouhammer.com, and militarypundits.com I can tell you that Mr. Merwin’s interest in this whole thing has been to try and do something right and honor not only Bucky, but also all the fallen vets from the local area. However the Anderson’s appear to have gotten themselves spun up into such a tizzy that they cannot find a way out without swallowing a lot of crow.

Mr. Merwin has tried over and over to reach out to the family after initially consulting with them about the memorial and getting their verbal approval. They refuse to work with him and approach it with a “my way or no way” mentality. It is really sad, because this is not about them, Mr. Merwin or anyone else walking this planet. It is a about Bucky and those that have fallen like him....

Bouhammer has much more to say, and in order to get another side to this whole sad saga, you must go read it here.

Full disclosure: I have talked to Clayton and his wife at length. I also have talked to CJ - who I have known for a number of years - about this specific topic, and I also know Bouhammer, both as a veteran who served his country for many years, and as co-host of YouServed BTR.

There's an expression that says 'you are known by the company you keep.' CJ, Bouhammer and Clayton and his wife are ALL honourable people, and unselfishness is an attribute they all have in abundance. When I first heard of the difficulties that Clayton and his wife are experiencing with this memorial (on Yankeemom's BTR show,) I was really perturbed, so yes, I did call in, and had a three way conversation with Yankeemom and Clayton.

Following on from that, I had long talks with Clayton and his wife, as we all tried to figure out how we could resolve this so that Bucky and other local veterans could be appropriately honoured. It distresses me terribly to hear of Clayton, who is gaining NOTHING from this selfless desire to honour the fallen troops, being subjected to so much grief..

My long time readers know very well, I have a special place in my heart for Gold Star Families. I can't even imagine the grief they must have to wade through. I stand with many others in attempting to honour them and their loved ones who sacrificed all to serve their country. We all know that grief does terrible things to the human heart, and often distorts our interactions with people around us; people who offer themselves with only the purest of motives.

There is much more to this story, which is not mine to share. I post what Bouhammer says here, to remind people that there is always more than one side to any story. In this specific story, the media has - again - fallen short, to the point that other well-meaning folks could be forgiven thinking that Clayton is a 'villain' here.

Trust me: he is so far from that. He opened his heart to this Gold Star Family, and gave of his time and commitment with no expectation of gain for himself. And oh yes, he has made NOT ONE CENT for his efforts. That is not - and has never been - his goal. To prove that particular point, he opened his books to a local legal official to put the lie to baseless allegations that had been made against him.

I do have faith that a memorial will eventually be erected to honour Bucky and the other local heroes. I do believe that cooler heads will prevail, but in the meantime I ask myself: What would Bucky do?

1 comment:

CJ said...

Very well written. Thanks for adding your voice of support for both Clayton and our fallen heroes and their families.