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- Many took offense at a general's comment for seeming to minimize the death of superstar Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others.
- "Lots of people mourning a basketball player this morning. I think I'll use my energy to remember SPC Moore and his Family. #RIP," Maj. Gen. John Evans tweeted about Spc. Antonio Moore, who was killed Friday in Syria.
- Some veterans said that the general's comment failed to acknowledge the grief many feel for Bryant, 41, who retired from the NBA in 2016 after a legendary career.
- A spokeswoman for Cadet Command said, "Since we tend to connect to celebrities more, we have a tendency to forget about others who are just as important. There was no disrespect meant."
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As Americans continued to a grapple with the death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others on Monday, a US Army general took to Twitter to highlight the loss of another American: a 22-year-old soldier killed in Syria.
But many took offense at the way the general did it.
"Lots of people mourning a basketball player this morning. I think I'll use my energy to remember SPC Moore and his Family. #RIP," Maj. Gen. John Evans tweeted.
Spc. Antonio Moore, a combat engineer in the Army Reserve from Wilmington, N.C., was killed in a vehicle rollover accident on a Friday mission in eastern Syria. In a statement, his battalion commander said: "Antonio was one of the best in our formation. He will be missed by all who served with him."
Many veterans said that the general's comment failed to acknowledge the grief many feel for Bryant, 41, who was retired from the NBA after a legendary career. His daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant was also killed, as
"As a life long laker fan, #Kobe helped me get through deployments in the early 2000's," wrote one person in response to Evan's comment. "Both deaths are tragic, but in different ways. No need to make it a contest."
And a former Army officer, who led a research program on veterans prior to joining the RAND Corporation, tweeted that the comment was not in keeping with Army values.
"This is not a healthy look for civil-military relations," tweeted Philip Carter. "The military does not have a monopoly on suffering or death; insisting on primacy of grief is inconsistent with the Army value of selfless-sacrifice."
—Phillip Carter (@Carter_PE) January 27, 2020
Evans leads thousands of Army ROTC cadets as the head of Cadet Command, based in Fort Knox, Ky. He said the response from many veterans made his point.
"I think my detractors here made my case for me — no one life is any more important than another — regardless the celebrity. Look forward to them Retweeting the story about SPC Moore to demonstrate their conviction."
—MG John R. Evans (@CG_ArmyROTC) January 27, 2020
A spokeswoman for Cadet Command said Evans didn't intend any disrespect in his comment.
"As we mourn the losses of a basketball legend and of a Soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this great Nation, we believe everybody's life has value and that all loss of life tragic," Lt. Col. Nichole Downs said in a statement. "Since we tend to connect to celebrities more, we have a tendency to forget about others who are just as important. There was no disrespect meant towards the families of the nine that were lost."
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