The band played on

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By John Pawlak

In early June, our minds were filled with visions of the coming summer months. Vacations to plan. Gardens to weed. Garages to clean out. As we soak up what’s left of the summer sun (and rejoice at the monsoons finally arriving), it’s difficult to even think back to June, isn’t it?  Well, let’s give it a shot.

June 7, 2010 — Steve Jobs introduces the latest iPhone to an Apple-hungry audience in San Francisco.  A frock worn by Princess Diana is put on the London’s Pall Mall auction block and is expected to fetch $72,000.  A remake of “The Karate Kid” starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith premieres in Hollywood.

Each of these news stories captured our attention.  With only three weeks notice, Apple fanatics began preparing chairs and sleeping bags for their line-standing vigil.  British who design their days around the lives of royalty held their breath at the chance of seeing a skirt worn by Diana sold to some rich commoner. And what better way to spice up our otherwise boring existence than yet another karate movie?

June 7, 2010 — Workers are putting up banners at Soccer City Stadium in preparation for the FIFA Soccer World Cup starting next week.  White House reporter Helen Thomas announces her retirement.  The Dow falls 115 points to 9816, a seven-month low.  Prince Charles’ doctor says the Prince of Wales will miss the Royal Ascot next week so that he can recover from a chest infection.

Yep, just another typical day.

June 7, 2010 — Israeli commandos seize the Rachel Corrie, a humanitarian ship carrying 1,000 tons of medical and construction supplies headed to the Gaza. The all-female rock group, The Pixies, cancels an upcoming concert in Israel in protest of the Israeli assault on the Free Gaza flotilla. And at MTV’s 19th Movie Awards ceremony, Sandra Bullock shocked the audience when she wet-mouth kissed Scarlett Johansson.

And the band played on.

June 7, 2010 — President Obama nominates James Clapper Jr. as director of National Intelligence, replacing Dennis Blair who resigned in late May. The Democratic Republic of Congo places police chief John Numbi under house arrest as they investigate the murder of the human rights campaigner Floribert Chebeya.

The U.S. Embassy is demanding an investigation into the Israeli military shooting of Emily Henochowica, a U.S. citizen who lost an eye after being shot during a protest in the West Bank.

The day was an ordinary day, 24 hours long, nothing meriting any particular notice.  

With oil flowing into the gulf now for 49 days, BP officials continue to look for a way to stop the leak.  Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodriguez, known as the voice of the Cuban revolution, performs in the United States (in Carnegie Hall) for the first time since 1980.

It was just another day.  Americans listened to their music, complained about the oily beaches, struggled to decide who to vote for on “American Idol”, debated politics, and kvetched that ice cream manufacturers have quietly reduced the size of their containers from one-half gallon to three pints.  Little time was spent discussing Charles S. Jirtle.  

June 7th, 2010 — Charles S. Jirtle, born in Lawton, Okla., attended MacArthur High School and served in the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry regiment of the US Army.  Jirtle died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Konar, Afghanistan.  Also killed in the attack were Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala, Spc. Matthew R. Catlett, and Spc. Blaine E. Redding.  Jirtle was 29 years old and is survived by his wife, Savannah, and three children.  His wife was pregnant with their fourth child when he died in Afghanistan.

Jirtle was the 5,500th American soldier to lose his life in the nearly nine-year old conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  Do we have to read another rant about soldiers dying over there?  I just thought that with people’s fascination for nice round numbers, Jirtle would have gotten more attention.  But hey, I suppose watching endless clips of Sandra Bullock french kiss Scarlette Johansson makes for better press.