The post below is an excerpt from i've stopped counting. I am furious upon learning of the death of PFC Lavena Lynn Johnson. Where is the public outrage regarding another incident of violence against women?
Pictured above is LaVena Johnson, born on July 27, 1985. She grew up with three older brothers and a younger sister, all of whom attended Hazelwood Central High School - 'Home of the Hawks' - in Florissant Missouri, a northern suburb of St. Louis. A "cheerful, honest, and full of life person" who "made an impact on everyone that she came in close contact with," LaVena played the violin, donated blood, and volunteered for American Heart Association walks. For her volunteer work and grades, she "received commendations from members of the Missouri Senate and Congress." She was an honor roll student who earned straight A's her senior year, graduating in 2004 as a "top-notch" student.
Her aspirations didn't vary from that of her three older brothers, who graduated from Central and went on to college. She wanted to travel and go to college, but when her parents told her that they could come up with the money for school, she said, "No, I want to do this on my own."
In the main entrance of her high school is a plaque "in memory of the Hazelwood graduates who died serving their country." I doubt LaVena expected that plaque to also apply to her before her twentieth birthday.
Instead of being a junior in college, or anything else, LaVena now resides in South St. Louis County at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Among over 150,000 others on the 331 acre site, her burial place is marked with a cross and these words:
PFC US ARMY
JUL 27 1985
JUL 19 2005
WE WILL MISS
When her father left the army after three years of service, the army helped pay for some of his college education. And after that, he didn't have to make a down payment on his first home. The recruiting brochure found in LaVena's room said that through the Army, she could "earn $25,000 toward college." And she was told it was 'highly unlikely' she'd end up in Iraq, so it only made sense to join the Army before continuing her education and starting her life. Recruiters got her contact information as part of No Child Left Behind, apparently the only aspect of that law that functions. When her younger sister became a senior, recruiters started calling for her too, despite LaVena already having been killed. Continue reading…
Sometimes I think I must be in The Twilight Zone. How could this have happened to a soldier…an American…a young woman serving in the United States Army? How could she have become a victim at the hands of fellow American soldiers? It is obvious that American military conspired to cover up the truth about this young woman's death. Her death certificate indicated suicide but her body told a tale of violence. How many other soldiers' deaths have been falsified?
Never forget that the military lied about the death of former pro football player Pat Tillman. To have the truth of sexual assault, beating and desecration of the body of an almost 20 year-old female soldier by fellow soldiers would be a public relations nightmare for the United States military, President Bush and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Just as the Bay County medical examiner was fired for lying about the death of Martin Lee Anderson at the hands of guards at his juvenile detention center, those involved in this cover-up must be punished also. Let the chips fall where they may.
Don't sleep on this. Don't allow Lavena's death to be in vain. Spread the word about the cover-up of this woman's death and the military's refusal to investigate the death of PFC Lavena Johnson.
An excerpt from a petition for a fair investigation onto the death of PFC Lavena Johnson reads as such.
"…While it is possible to disagree generally over the war in Iraq, we are unified in our respect for the men and women who serve us in dangerous places, and in our concern for the families who give them up in our name. The very least we owe families of the fallen is an honest accounting of how their loved ones died."
Who can argue with that? Please read and sign the petition online, contact your congressman and spread the word about the death of PFC Lavena Johnson.