The world loves and hates America through “Remembering a Hero”

1st Lt. Jacob Fritz of Nebraska died in Iraq in january of 2007.

1st Lt. Jacob Fritz of Nebraska died in Iraq in January of 2007.

It’s stunning. A video uploaded to YouTube by a former University of Nebraska-Lincoln student last year.

It  reveals how some people dislike the United States and the U.S. men and women who have died fighting in Iraq.  It’s not an understatement to say some hate our country and our people.

Likewise, many people responded to the video with support for Lt. Fritz and his family.

Remembering a Hero was former University of Nebraska-Lincoln broadcast journalism student Dani Blecha’s entry into the Hearst national journalism competition last year.

Blecha’s report was on the Iraqi death and memorial service for Verdon, Nebraska 1st Lieutenant Jacob Fritz.

Lt. Fritz, 25, was kidnapped, driven from his base and killed with four other soldiers in an attack in Karbala, Iraq by militants disguised as Americans on January 20th, 2007.

The brazen assault, was conducted by nine to 12 gunmen posing as an American security team, the military confirmed. The attackers traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles — the type used by U.S. government convoys — had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English, according to two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials.

U.S. soldiers patrol Karbala, Iraq following the raid that killed 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz and three others in January, 2007

U.S. soldiers patrol Karbala, Iraq following the raid that killed 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz and four other U.S. soldiers in January, 2007

“None of the soldiers had identification,” wrote Time magazine. ” The killers had taken everything from the men’s pockets before fleeing the scene. In his last moments, one of the soldiers, a young lieutenant, realized his body might be unidentifiable when he was discovered. In the dust caked on one of the vehicles he managed to write his last name, Fritz, a final act before dying.”

The family of fallen 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz mourn him at her memorial service.

The family of fallen 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz mourn him at her memorial service.

Lt. Fritz’ memorial and funeral were attended by more than 1,500 people and Blecha’s report was simple, yet powerful. It brought  home the reality and tragedy of a war being waged 6,700 miles away. Almost 3,400 U.S. military men and women had been killed, over 100,000 wounded in combat in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March of 2003.

Yet, even as Blecha’s video report  was posted on YouTube for the rest of the world to see, it drew sharp viewer reaction illustrating the deep hatred some feel for the United States and the U.S. men and women who have waged war in Iraq.

More than 13,800 people have viewed Blecha’s report on YouTube since it was posted last year.  So far, 66 people have posted comments about Lt. Fritz.

“American soldiers are simple morons who allow themselves to go to bulls&%t wars and kill innocent civilians. The lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor… Be proud? Of what? Taking orders?
Give me a f#$@*ng break!”

“If Soldiers are too stupid to educate themselves about a lying president’s motives before volunteering to go to an unjust war, then they deserves to die. One cannot in good conscience support volunteer soldiers fighting an unjust war. To do so would be like supporting a rapist when you don’t support rape; or supporting the murderer if you don’s support murder.
Next time around soldiers, be wiser.
Semper Infidelis”

“Nothing warms my heart more than the news of more dead soldiers!! Especially dead american soldiers. Crying for impoverished morons that get paid to rape and murder innocent people in there homes just because some heinous billionaire says they should?”

In the January 20, 2007 Karbala attack, disguised insurgents made their way through checkpoints to get inside a government compound.

In the January 20, 2007 Karbala attack, disguised insurgents made their way through checkpoints to get inside a government compound.

There have been supportive comments as well:

“I myself am a soldier in the US Army and to read that comment just shows that some people have forgotten what it means to be an American, I love how people don’t realize that freedom isn’t free, nor has it ever been.”

‘Two months ago I lost a Brother a Friend a great person, He fought for you and I. He didnt support Bush and his decisions he supported Our morals and choice to freedom,He fought for his brothers he fought for those to scared of the possible outcomes,For those To scared to face those faces that are no different from yours or mine!! Remember your supporting our troops for what they have accomplished and have faced not for who they reside under.Rest in Peace Brother. Your Comrades and allies will stand your post.

“My condolences to the family.  A New Zealand Soldier ”

Some of those comments in support of Lt. Fritz were filled with hatred too.

“F%#k u you are a f%$#ing piece of s%$t im joing the usmc and im going to pistol whip u and beat the s&$t out of u u selfish bastard.”

“NEVER F$#@ING!!! talk about a soldier like than again your the motherf$#@er who is gonna burn in hell f$#@er!”

What do I think?

Lt. Fritz served with honor and distinction in Iraq. He didn’t deserve to be kidnapped and executed. He deserved to come home and be respected for serving his country. Lt. Fritz deserved to have a family. To love and be loved by a wife. To have children he might have a satisfaction of seeing become adults.

Like soldiers everywhere, in moments of reflection, Lt. Fritz may have  prepared himself for the possibility he could be wounded or killed in combat. It’s the ultimate sacrifice soldiers make defending the ideals, people and countries they love. I have found this to be an essential part of the fabric of most people around the world. I believe it was undoubtedly a part of Jacob Fritz too.

And yet, woven into this human fabric run threads of hatred and distrust. They fray and tear at the heart and soul of the human spirit. They haunt our history and write new chapters from the tears and blood spilled whenever hatred boils over.

War makes victims of every participant. In the case of Iraq, the estimated civilian casualties are staggering. London-based Opinion Research Business estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US-led invasion began. That number surpasses the victims of the Rwandan genocide.

Tto live with this, I wrap my heart and mind around the belief that more goodness resides in our world than evil; that good people outweigh the bad.  I also believe good people must sometimes be willing to fight the bad, accepting the risks and consequences that war bring to all.

Wrote Time magazine:

“When Iraqi authorities discovered the abandoned vehicles on the night of Jan. 20, Capt. Brian Freeman was the only U.S. soldier still clinging to life. For a moment before the Americans finally arrived, the Iraqis thought Freeman might still have a chance. They could have waited for U.S. soldiers to come, but Freeman needed care immediately. So the Iraqis acted on their own. They pulled Freeman from the back of the vehicle and loaded him into an ambulance. An Iraqi army soldier administered CPR until a medic could give him oxygen as they rushed to the nearest hospital in Hillah. But Freeman’s wound was too severe, and he died along the way.

“I would like to tell the family that we tried to help him so that he would live,” the Iraqi soldier later told U.S. investigators who took a statement from him. “We are very sorry that he died. We treated him as if he was our own.””


About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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One Response to The world loves and hates America through “Remembering a Hero”

  1. Michael Tim says:

    I love your site!

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