Governor Chris Christie has suggested that New Jersey residents hang their American flag at half staff Saturday for Whitney Houston's funeral in honor of the Garden State singer.

Respectfully Mr. Governor, that is ridiculous. Whitney Houston's contributions to music, film and the arts can't be denied. She was an incredible talent and a New Jersey treasure that we lost too soon. Whitney Houston however does not deserve the honor of having American flags in New Jersey or anywhere hung at half staff. Why? Did we show the same respect to these New Jersey soldiers who bravely gave their lives for our country in Iraq alone? The answer is no. They will get my respect and thanks here.



Ryan T. Baker

Army Spc. Ryan T. Baker
A fearless soldier, a bereaved mom (The Star-Ledger)
Army Spc. Ryan T. Baker came home to Burlington County from Iraq last month to bury his father, Dane Baker, who died Oct. 4.
Army Pfc. Stephen Benish
Saying farewell to a fallen soldier (The Star-Ledger)
Army Pfc. Stephen Benish was Johnson High Class of '02. He was killed Nov. 29, 2004 in Ramadi.

Min Soo Choi

Army Pfc. Min Soo Choi
A Jersey soldier's bond with his sister is broken (The Star-Ledger)
Shortly before leaving for duty in Iraq, Army Pfc. Min Soo Choi gave his high school guidance counselor a special assignment: take care of my baby sister.

Fallen Jersey soldier likely to be given U.S. citizenship (The Star-Ledger)
Pfc. Min Soo Choi, the 21-year-old South Korean native from River Vale, who was killed Saturday in Iraq, may become the first soldier from New Jersey to receive citizenship posthumously. 

Fallen GI's final wish (The Star-Ledger)
Pfc. Min Soo Choi wanted desperately to be an American citizen. 

Choi will rest with PFCs and presidents (The Star-Ledger)
One of America's newest citizens was laid to rest yesterday in its most hallowed graveyard.
Pfc. Ryan D. Christensen
Illness in Iraq kills soldier from Shore (The Star-Ledger)
A 22-year-old soldier from Spring Lake Heights who spent the last 10 months in Iraq died at a U.S. hospital, where he had been sent for treatment of an undisclosed illness, the Department of Defense announced.
Michael Edward Curtin
Howell GI gets military honors (The Star-Ledger)
The first New Jerseyan killed during the war in Iraq will be laid to rest in a Monmouth County cemetery Friday with full military honors.
Spc. Anthony "Joe" Dixon
A soldier's family is left with pride and tears (The Star-Ledger)
The adventure drew New Jerseyan Anthony "Joe" Dixon to the Army, and to Iraq, fresh out of high school.
Ryan Doltz
A soldier's pride remembered | More (The Star-Ledger)
From the pulpit of the small, stone Mine Hill Presbyterian Church, Ryan Doltz's mother took some 300 mourners back to her son's beginnings. Ryan Doltz was a mischievous boy who loved to sneak out the basement window of his family's home in Mine Hill at night to play "war" with his brother.

He'll forever stand apart (The Star-Ledger)
Growing up in Mine Hill as the middle child, Ryan E. Doltz sometimes worried about standing apart from his siblings and doing something memorable, his mother, Cheryl Doltz recalled.
Army Lt. Seth Dvorin
Family left reeling (The Star-Ledger)
Army Lt. Seth Dvorin's family stood in an airport terminal last month, eagerly waiting for him to step off a plane to begin two weeks of rest and relaxation in East Brunswick after four months in Iraq.

Michael Egan

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan
Jersey-born Guardsman killed in Iraq (The Star-Ledger)
Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan, a South Jersey native serving in Iraq, last spoke to his mother on Sunday.
Brian Faunce
Jersey families mourn soldiers killed in Iraq (The Star-Ledger)
One New Jersey family was still making funeral arrangements yesterday for a soldier killed in Iraq, as a Monmouth County woman mourned her son during a memorial in Colorado.
Bryan Freeman Jr.
War touches local family (The Times, Trenton)
Darlene Freeman froze for a moment when she saw the two officers from Fort Dix at her door about 5 p.m. Monday.
Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Goodwin
Marine with Jersey ties is killed in battle against insurgents
(The Star-Ledger) Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Goodwin joined the Corps after high school in Mount Holly. He died May 11, 2005 in battle against insurgents.
Kyle A. Griffin

Kyle A. Griffin
A final escort, a lasting tribute (The Star-Ledger)
More than a year ago, Kyle Griffin left his Bergen County hometown to join the Army.
Capt. James M. Gurbisz
Monmouth soldier, a 'great kid,' dies in Iraq (The Star-Ledger)
A 25-year-old West Point graduate who was a standout athlete and student leader during his high school days at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls was killed Friday in Iraq while leading a security platoon.
Army Staff Sgt. Terry Hemingway
Their hero, her husband (The Star-Ledger)
On a sunny spring afternoon bright with blooming flowers and blossoming trees, Army Staff Sgt. Terry Hemingway was hailed as an American hero and laid to rest.
Army Spc. Simeon Hunte
Loved ones celebrate life (The Star-Ledger)
Army Spc. Simeon Hunte,who was killed last week as he patrolled a Baghdad suburb, was mourned yesterday by family, friends and fraternity brothers.
Craig Ivory
Mass honors fallen medic (The Times, Trenton)
Reciting one of Craig Ivory's favorite expressions, "What you do in life, echoes in eternity," the Rev. Richard LaVerghetta, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church, honored Ivory's life for family and friends who gathered yesterday for a special memorial Mass.
Marlon P. Jackson
Absolutely devastated (The Jersey Journal)
Marlon Jackson wanted to be an engineer. Or, as he had been saying lately, maybe he wanted to stay in the Army beyond his current deployment in Iraq and advance through the ranks to become a career military man.

Alain Kamolvathin

Alain Kamolvathin
A Jersey soldier's vow dies in Iraq (The Star-Ledger)
In 2003, shortly after the death of his father, Alain Kamolvathin made a promise to his little sister, Sidney.
Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz
Kearny soldier killed in Iraq (The Jersey Journal)
A town resident was one of the five U.S. soldiers killed by a pair of roadside bombs in northern Iraq, his family told The Jersey Journal.

Likable Hudson hero loved the Army, adventure (The Jersey Journal)
Since the time he was a young boy, Edward Karolasz always had the same dream - to serve in the U.S. military.
Marine Cpl. Sean P. Kelly
Following his heritage into battle (The Star-Ledger)
He came from a military family -- his father and grandfathers served in the armed forces. An uncle also was a Marine and Kelly's older brother followed him into the Corps.

Sean P. Kelly

Marine son as dedicated(Gloucester County Times)
Lynn Kelly was with her oldest son, Jason, in Salem City early Wednesday afternoon when she suddenly got a strange feeling. 

He 'left his mark on us'(Gloucester County Times)
When Michael Stone II looked out of his window and saw two uniformed Marines walking down Elm Avenue, approaching the Kellys' home, he assumed the worst. 

Hundreds fill street for procession(Gloucester County Times)
When the owner of the Broadway Theater decided to change his marquee to acknowledge Thursday's funeral procession for Cpl. Sean Kelly, the words just wouldn't come. 

Pitman salutes its own(Gloucester County Times)
When President Bush mentioned the sacrifice of a specific Marine Corps sergeant during his State of the Union address Wednesday night and introduced the Marine's family, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
Maj. Ramon "Ray" J. Mendoza Jr.
Former Blair Academy wrestler killed in Iraq (The Express-Times)
One day after the death of a popular senior, Blair Academy officials learned that a Marine who attended the school in 1987 had been killed in Iraq.
Bruce Miller Jr.
A Jersey soldier dies in Mosul (The Star-Ledger)
A 23-year-old soldier from Orange has been killed in Iraq from a noncombat gunshot wound, but the military is not disclosing any details of his death while it is under investigation.

Brian Parrello

Lance Cpl. Brian Parrello
Aspiring history teacher killed in Iraq (The Star-Ledger)
Lance Cpl. Brian Parrello was killed in Hadithah, Iraq. He put off college to join the Marines.
Joel Perez
Saluting a man of honor (The Star-Ledger)
He was on his way home to celebrate his third wedding anniversary with his wife and 15-month-old daughter.

Gladimir Phillipe

Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe
Sadness in Roselle (The Star-Ledger)
Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe's half-brother Redford stands at the foot of the stairs. Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe had traveled the world with the Army, including missions to Bosnia and to the Persian Gulf during the first Gulf War.
Marc Tyler Ryan
'Today this community is suffering' (The Jersey Journal)
A 25-year-old former captain and stand-out linebacker for Gloucester City High School who had volunteered for his third tour of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps was killed in action Monday afternoon in the Iraqi town of Ramadi.

Edward August "Augie" Schroeder

Marine Lance Cpl. Edward August "Augie" Schroeder
'I'm OK,' wrote the former Jerseyan in last e-mail
(The Star-Ledger) A few months after the 9/11 attacks, Marine Lance Cpl. 'Augie' Schroeder enlisted. He died Aug. 1, 2005 when a roadside bomb hit the vehicle carrying 14 Marines.

Recalling Marine's devotion to duty (The Star-Ledger)
At an old stone church in Maplewood, dozens of parishioners gathered to remember a kind-hearted kid who was killed in Iraq.
Army Spc. Marc Seiden
E. Windsor soldier killed in ambush (The Times, Trenton)
Army Spc. Marc Seiden spoke twice with his parents on New Year's Eve. Much of the conversation was about his anticipated return from Iraq later this month.
Sgt. Stephen Sherman
Blast kills soldier from Neptune
(The Star-Ledger) An Army sergeant from Neptune was killed early yesterday in Iraq when an improvised explosive device went off near his truck on a road in Mosul.

Mourners recall fallen soldier's zest for life
(The Star-Ledger) He died in a military uniform in a foreign land, fulfilling a duty to his country.
Spc. Philip I. Spakosky
Local soldier killed by sniper (The Times, Trenton)
Spc. Philip I. Spakosky of South Brynwood Drive in Pemberton's Browns Mills section was shot in Karbala by a suspected sniper.
Vincent Sullivan
'He really was a hero' (The Star-Ledger)
Susanne Sullivan knew her son was dead the instant she spotted three men in Marine Corps dress uniforms on her block in Bradley Beach.

Last dance: Widow honors husband with funeral ballet (The Star-Ledger)
Erika Sullivan danced in a white dress and ballet shoes at the altar of the First Congregational Church in Montclair before the flag-draped coffin of her husband Vincent.
Spc. Narson B. Sullivan
Soldier's death ends family's high hopes (The Star-Ledger)
Relief was fleeting for Spc. Narson B. Sullivan's family.
Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Sutherland
South Jersey couple loses son in Iraq (The Star-Ledger)
A 34-year-old Army sergeant who grew up in Gloucester County died in Iraq when his military vehicle rolled over, according to the Department of Defense.

Harry Swain IV

Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Swain IV
Death of a brother, death of a Marine
(The Star-Ledger) Shortly before 6 a.m. in Iraq yesterday, Marine Jaymes Swain was told to call home.

Mourning a Marine (Bridgeton News)
The city is mourning the death of one of its sons, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Swain IV, killed in Iraq on Monday. 

Mom got e-mail hours before his death (Bridgeton News)
Deborah Lago last heard from her son, Harry Swain IV, hours before the young Marine died during his second tour of duty in Iraq on Monday. 

Marine is laid to rest (Bridgeton News)
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Swain IV was laid to rest in quiet, Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery Wednesday morning, under partly sunny skies intercepted by a small, red heart-shape balloon floating above.
Michael Tarlavsky
From Latvia, with love of being a soldier (The Star-Ledger)
At the age of 3, when Michael Yury Tarlavsky refused to eat his dinner, his grandmother knew just how to change the stubborn boy's mind.
Humberto Timoteo
His wife and child face uncertain future (The Star-Ledger)
Giovannie Timoteo romped playfully on the floor yesterday in the small living room of his grandparents' home in the Ironbound section of Newark.

John Wroblewski

Second Lt. Richard Torres
Passaic native sacrificed his dreams (The Star-Ledger)
Second Lt. Richard Torres saw the military as a good way to enhance his life.
Marine 2nd Lt. John T. Wroblewski
His fidelity, love form lasting tribute (The Star-Ledger)
Joanna Wroblewski wore a white flowing gown when she exchanged wedding vows with Marine 2nd Lt. John T. Wroblewski in Our Lady of the Mountain Church in Long Valley nine months ago.
Dennis Zilinski
A Howell 'achiever' is killed by Iraq bomb (The Star-Ledger)
Dennis Zilinski and Marie Cicerelle met and fell in love as cadets at West Point. A few days after Christmas last year, they announced to relatives and friends that they planned to marry once they had safely returned from their tours of duty in Iraq. That day will never come.

Mr. Christie is wrong on this one. The time honored tradition of how we display the American flag should be reserved for true heros.

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