Update to the Marine debate

Under pressure following this story hitting the national media, North Allegheny relented and told the young Marine (I realize now that should be capitalized. Sorry, soldiers men? Marines? I GIVE UP!) she could wear her dress blues. Which in turn makes me wonder who called the local media about this in the first place. Has it come to that? We bump up against a rule we don’t like, or a ruling based on that rule that we don’t agree with, and immediately call WTAE? I’m not saying it was Lindsay or her family. It could have been another parent or a school board member, or member of the armed forces who didn’t agree with the decision. This really seemed a knee-jerk WHAT’S THE NUMBER FOR KDKA reaction.

Despite that pressured reversal, following a chat with another Marine, Lindsay Starr has agreed that she should just wear the cap and gown:

Marine Sgt. Lynn Kinney said she had a heartfelt talk with Starr, 17, who is working at the recruiting station during a 10-day leave.

“We talked about what it means to be a Marine and understand policy and support government decisions,” Kinney said. “She understands.”

I’ve enjoyed reading the views in the comments to the original post. Feel free to keep commenting with your opinions on the matter.

It’s interesting that the armed forces members who have commented thus far have indicated that they believe that Sgt. Starr should don the cap and gown, but the Trib featured these:

The school’s original decision incensed local veterans. Ron Conley, director of Allegheny County Veterans Services, said he was “appalled.”

After the reversal, Conley said, “It was the right decision.”

“It is a patriotic school,” he noted. “They do participate in Veterans Day events and the Junior ROTC.”

Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Paul Kennedy is the American Legion district commander for the 32nd District, which includes Wexford.

“If that was my daughter or son, I’d be proud,” said Kennedy of Ross, who served in Vietnam and Iraq.

But no one is saying she shouldn’t be proud or that her family shouldn’t be proud. They SHOULD be proud. Look at what she’s done with her life already!

That’s not it at all. It’s about DISPLAYING the pride in an occasion-appropriate fashion.

Like I wrote in the original post, you don’t always have to shout it.


  1. mph
    June 10, 2011 9:17 am

    Did you just refer to Marines as “soldiers”? Hoo, boy, I sense another apology coming.

  2. Virginia
    June 10, 2011 9:18 am

    Oh, God. Is that not right? I give up. ACK.

  3. Jaime
    June 10, 2011 9:41 am

    I’m going to call WTAE to make sure that you properly refer to Marines :)

    I’m glad that she has decided to wear the cap and gown with her classmates. Did any of the coverage include her classmates’ reactions?

    I’m afraid that in this time of 24-hour news coverage and social media that this type of campaign will now be the norm.

  4. Paul
    June 10, 2011 9:51 am

    Good on her for choosing to wear just the cap and gown.

    The answer to this ” Has it come to that? We bump up against a rule we don’t like, or a ruling based on that rule that we don’t agree with, and immediately call WTAE?” is yes, which I’m sure you know.


  5. AmyLa
    June 10, 2011 10:10 am

    I saw something on WPXI (I think) about a girl who didn’t think it was fair that she couldn’t walk in her graduation because rules dictated that if you were caught drinking at the prom, then you wouldn’t be able to walk (or something similar to that). I (a) couldn’t believe this was a news story, and (b) wondered, same as you, who the heck would call this in as a story?

  6. kevin
    June 10, 2011 10:49 am

    Political correctness is so over the tyop now. People are smart enough to figure it all out Ginny. By the way, this Marine should be proud, however she hasn’t earned the right yet to be acknowledged in this very public way as a Marine as others have who have experienced. hardship that she will as well in the future. Kudos to hyer for enlisting, but some perspective is in order here . By the way, my daughter too is looking at a military career after college graduation next year and I would tell her the same thing. Let the acknowledgement go to those who have already earned it, this young lady will have hyer time shortly, now isn’t the time.

  7. kevin
    June 10, 2011 10:50 am

    sorry for not hitting spell check

  8. Marcy
    June 10, 2011 11:08 am

    @AmyLa – You may be too young for this, but all I could hear in my head when I read your post was “Donna Martin Graduates!!!”

  9. bucdaddy
    June 10, 2011 11:22 am

    Local TV “news”: Making Everests out of ant hills since 1952.

  10. Monty
    June 10, 2011 11:31 am

    Sweet, sweet victory for Marcy.

  11. Steverino
    June 10, 2011 11:37 am

    Yep, local TV news: the latest news in wandering children in diapers, alleged “child lurers,” “disturbing stories you’ll only see on (fill in the blank),” and the huge national impact of high school graduations. Unbelievable.

  12. Dan (Not Onorato)
    June 10, 2011 11:51 am

    Im glad someone had the sense to talk to her and get her head right.

    Good luck Private Starr and thank you.

    Marty has got to be bummed about this…BAHAHAHA!

  13. Dan (Not Onorato)
    June 10, 2011 11:55 am

    BTW….School boards in general are weak. Stop worring about being popular and to get re-elected. Remember whats right isnt always whats popular. Grow a set and actually stand up to parents if their kids want to bend/break the rules and stand up FOR teachers if the situation dictates.

  14. April Groves
    June 10, 2011 11:57 am

    G, can I call you “G”? Any way you popped up on my google recommends list – NICE! Your About page is the stuff – I will advise you on military correctness any time and keep your behind out of trouble. Your writing is the ish.

    I agree on the lack of need for shouting pride. I also agree that too often we go running to the people who will tell us what we want to hear.

    It did occur to me that one point has been lost in this whole situation – everybody directly involved behaved well and appropriately.

    1 – Starr had a desire that she asked for and felt she deserved. Let’s not forget that she is but 17 years old. I can assure you I was not always known for my rationality at that age (or even now in my 30’s). When she was instructed by her Sgt. on the finer points of Marine behavior, Starr understood and revised her desires.

    2 – the school system wasn’t prohibiting a uniform based on the ideal, but the appropriateness of the situation. Upon reexamination they were willing to change their thinking.

    3- the Corps did not hardline the school system and, in fact, supported the decision and offered Starr and almost unheard of compromise in the ability to cover the uniform (what?!?).

    So good on them all for resolving a disagreement and bunk on the media for trying to whirlwind it for their advantage.

    PS…Kevin ~ the child doubled up on classes to finish early, was accepted into several colleges, decided instead to give up a great many of her own personal rights and freedoms to defend ours – she has earned it.

  15. unsatisfied
    June 10, 2011 12:08 pm

    as someone with connections to NA and the military, I think that this was resolved as it should have been.

    should have it been splashed all over KDKA and fox news?


    congrats to the NA class of 2011…ALL of them.

  16. Bulldog
    June 10, 2011 12:22 pm

    Major kudos to Pvt Starr and to her Marine leaders who helped lead her to a good decision. As for the local media & national media? Once again they exercise POOR judgement in order to garner ratings.

    I’m also disappointed in the “leadership” comments you posted and I can only say that they represent some of the very reasons why I have chosen not to be more active in local veterans organizations.

    One individual you referenced above also happens to be a former NATIONAL commander of the American Legion, and is the leader of my local post. As such, I would have hoped that he would be more measured in his comments and less knee-jerk in his reaction. Alas, it was not to be. I’m afraid that it’s much easier to gin up some misplaced outrage at a percieved slight or proclaim oneself to be “appalled” as if the school district were setting a Marine uniform on fire. It’s 2011, which of course means that we should all be so enlightened that we truly have no sense of perspective thereby becoming and loudly proclaiming our outrage to anyone within earshot.

  17. Bulldog
    June 10, 2011 12:23 pm

    and yeah, as @unsatisfied stated – “Congratulations to the Class of 2011, All of them.”

  18. Cassie
    June 10, 2011 12:29 pm

    I was in the Army Reserves. When I was 17, I did my basic between my junior and senior year of high school. Wearing my uniform made me PROUD. BUT, on graduation day, I was proud of being a high school graduate. So I didn’t even question what I was going to wear, because I was a graduate of high school, as I had already graduated from Basic.

    Thank you to all of you who have served and wear your uniform with pride.

  19. Jaime
    June 10, 2011 12:51 pm

    @Marcy -Totally agree! You get the LMAO Award of the Day!

  20. spoon
    June 10, 2011 12:55 pm

    I’ve watched both Hot Shots movies so i feel more than qualified to reply on this subject… Dear local news, quit being jagoffs. love, spoon

  21. Jonathan Conrad
    June 10, 2011 2:19 pm

    I do not this she should be allowed to be special and wear her military dress uniform when the uniform you are suppose to be wearing to graduation is the cap and gown. She should not be allowed to wear her military uniform under her high school gown. That is definitally not a part of the military dress code. She should not be allowed to look different from the other graduates. I agree with (#6)Kevin,(#18) Cassie and (#14)April. When you graduate from school you wear your high school gown. Be proud that you even graduated.

    When you wear the uniform you represent the military and yourself. Wearing something over that uniform is disgracing what it stands for.

    And this never should have been on the news…..

  22. Leenyburgh
    June 10, 2011 9:19 pm

    According to Marty Griffin, she contacted him. I listened to his show today and had to take a shower afterwards. Ugh. Thanks for making YOUR forum a place where people can actually discuss the issue rather than yell and pontificate.