Let me start by saying that in no way do I want to insult Andrew Foster or his family. I have no doubt that he was a brave man and that his family have lost their pillar but he died in an unfortunate and horrific death in a peaceful Nation trying to clean up explosives used in an exercise in a peaceful nation.
So why were John Key and Associate Defence Minister Heather Roy so prominently in view at what should have been a private burial?
I can understand the fact that his colleagues wanted to say goodbye or that they wanted to do a haka to pay their respects I could even understand a message of condolences from the minister of Defence and a possible promise to investigate what should have been a fairly routine operation but no, the burial warranted the visit of the Prime Minister no less and he was amongst other dignitaries it is said.
So a man who did not die in an attack by a menacing enemy or who saved his fellow troops in an act of bravery sacrificing himself in the process warrants a massive “honour” with all the whistles and bells and I’m asking why?
If a man who died in an accident while being in military clothes demands such an honour what will happen when the body bags of those actually serving in Afghanistan are coming back?
Days of National mourning perhaps?
Could it be that we are manipulated into a warrior culture building legends around the military so it would become unpatriotic to criticise the fact that we are involved in an illegal war of aggression? If so how cynical and dishonest to use a man such as Andrew Forster and the grief of his family to whip up that kind of sentiment.
About 1000 people gathered at Ohakea Air Force Base today for the funeral of Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster who died after an artillery shell explosion north of Waiouru last week.
Prime Minister John Key and Associate Defence Minister Heather Roy were among the dignitaries at the service, along with family, friends and Defence Force personnel.
Flight Sergeant Forster had served in the air force 27 years. He was 46.
A private family service was held before the public part of proceedings at the gymnasium at Ohakea.
Flight Sergeant Forster’s father George spoke, reading a passage from the Old Testament of the bible. His widow Karen Langvald-Forster and the pair’s three teenage children, Candice, Mitchell and Ashlee all spoke of a committed family man who worked hard separating his work life from his home life.
The family spoke of how they were blessed to have had the time they had with him.
Colleagues performed a haka as his coffin was taken away for burial.