News organizations focusing on Seaford

By Lynn R. Parks

Monday marked the fourth anniversary of the United States' invasion of Iraq. As the war in that Middle Eastern country enters its fifth year, news organizations from throughout the world are looking to Seaford, the home of a soldier and two Marines who have been killed in battle, to get a feel of how small-town America is being affected. Journalists from the Washington, D.C., bureau of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) were in Seaford last week, where they interviewed Mayor Ed Butler and City Manager Dolores Slatcher, as well as police officer Lt. Pete Bohn, who served in Iraq. The journalists will return to Seaford Friday and will broadcast live for the two major BBC networks, News 24 and BBC World. Also last week, Liane Hansen, host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday, visited Seaford to talk to people about how they feel about the war. Her story aired on Sunday. In addition to Slatcher and Butler, Hansen talked with Carol James, the mother of Rick James, who was killed May 13 last year. The one-year anniversary of his death will fall on Mother's Day, something James told Hansen she is trying not to think about. James also told Hansen that she takes a lot of comfort in knowing exactly how her son was killed. She has a picture of Rick that was taken by a military photographer just moments before he was shot. The picture, taken in Ramadi, shows Rick framed in a window, seated and aiming his machine gun. "There is no mystery," James said on the broadcast. "I know exactly what happened. Minutes after this was taken, Rick was shot."

Rob Joseph, manager of the Seaford Applebee's, talked on the NPR broadcast about a "hometown wall of heroes" that he put up. The display, at the back of the restaurant, features poetry and pictures of James as well as of Ryan Long, who was killed in April 2003, and Cory Palmer, who died just a week before Rick James. It also includes pictures of Michael Hastings, who was killed Oct. 23, 1983, in a bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. City manager Slatcher told Hansen that, in spite of the deaths of the three men, Seaford remains solidly in support of the war and of President Bush. In Seaford, "it's God, country and flag," she said. "It's still the basis of this community that people are going to stand up for those symbols and support the decision that's made." Butler agreed. "Seaford really supported the war," he said. "It makes us proud that we did have three to give their lives for a good cause."

For your information To listen to the National Public Radio broadcast about Seaford, go to www.npr.org and click on Weekend Edition Sunday. The picture of Rick James that brings his mother comfort is posted on the website.

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