father’s day …

In the Name of the Sons explores the lives of several fathers who have lost sons in our recent wars.

“On a cold night last October, two men stood shoulder to shoulder in front of a small crowd sitting silently in a sparsely furnished room in Flatlands, Brooklyn.

Marlowe Fletcher was the shorter of the two. He wore a leather jacket decorated with an eagle surrounded by the sentence “The nation which forgets its heroes will itself be forgotten.” A military cap covered his grey hair. The taller man, Oslen Hill, stood at Fletcher’s right. Hill’s dreadlocks hung over the collar of his black suit.

The two men barked a command as they saluted a coffin draped in the American flag. Then they looked at each other, and they hugged.

Fletcher and Hill did not know each other. The former was sixty years old, Jewish, divorced, and retired. He lived in Island Park, an 89 percent white village on New York’s Long Island. The latter was born on the island of Jamaica in 1963. In 2005 he left his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up, and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to work as an equipment repairman in a post office.

Fletcher was a strong supporter of President George W. Bush’s administration and of the United States’ military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hill had always felt inspired by the images of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X that hung on the wall at home. He had cheered Barack Obama’s election.

They were both veterans.

They both had experienced war.

Fletcher served in the United States Air Force in Vietnam. Hill enlisted at twenty-two and served as a paratrooper in the First Gulf War, in the 82nd Airborne Division.

They were both fathers.

They each had lost a son, fallen in war.”

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