This is unacceptable...
Last week, the Rendell Administration displayed what, in the nicest terms, could be defined as a deep lack of sensitivity to members of our armed forces and their families last week.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll unabashedly intruded upon the funeral of Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich and handed out her business card while saying "our government" is against the war. Lt. Gov. Knoll's uninvited appearance at the funeral is both offensive and extremely distasteful.
An excerpt of the Post-Gazette story appears below:
The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war. Rhonda Goodrich of Indiana, Pa., said yesterday that a funeral was held Tuesday at a church in Carnegie for her brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32. She said he "died bravely and courageously in Iraq on July 10, serving his country."
In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives." Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll."
She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has. "Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."
Goodrich said she is positive that Knoll was not invited to the funeral, which was jammed with Marines in dress uniform and police officers, because the fallen Marine had been a policeman in McKeesport and Indiana County. "Our family deserves an apology," Rhonda Goodrich said. "Here you have a soldier who was killed -- dying for his country -- in a church full of grieving family members and she shows up uninvited. It made a mockery of Joey's death."
What really upset the family, Goodrich said, is that Knoll said, 'I want you to know our government is against this war,' " Goodrich said. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 23rd)
Governor Rendell has agreed to write a letter of apology to the family, and is urging Knoll to do the same. So far, she has shown no such inclination, refusing to even attempt to explain her actions. This kind of reprehensible behavior is simply inexcusable from our state's second highest elected official our men and women in uniform must always know that they have the support and the gratitude of our political leaders.
Tell Lt. Gov. Knoll her actions towards fallen soldiers and their families in a time of mourning is absolutely disgraceful.
Lieutenant Governor's Office:
Phone: (717)787-3300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lt. Governor Knoll's actions are particularly troubling in light of Rendell administration efforts last year to fight attempts by our men and women in uniform to extend the deadline for the return of Presidential Election ballots filled out while serving our country overseas. Ultimately, an extension of two weeks was granted for those ballots arriving from overseas.