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America's Cardboard Army of Flat Daddies Boosts Families

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:24 AM
Original message
America's Cardboard Army of Flat Daddies Boosts Families
America's cardboard army of Flat Daddies boosts families

Paul Harris and Javier Espinoza
Sunday October 8, 2006
The Observer


It is one of the hardest things about being a military family. How to cope when a husband and father, or wife and mother, is posted abroad, especially to combat zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

Now the United States army has come up with a bizarre solution: Flat Daddy and Flat Mommy.

Many military units can provide families with a life-size cardboard cutout of their overseas warrior. The family can then take that figure to parties, put it in the passenger seat of their car, take it to bed or do whatever it is that families want to with a replica of their loved one.

Named after Flat Stanley, a children's book character who was squashed flat, the cutouts have been a surprise hit since they were introduced. In Maine alone, the state's National Guard has given out more than 200 Flat Soldiers since January. The scheme began in North Dakota when one army wife, Cindy Sorenson, made up a life-size photograph of her former husband for their daughter, after he was sent to Iraq. The model helped the girl cope with missing her father and Sorenson mentioned it to a motivational speaker, Elaine Dumler, who included it in a book.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1890286,0...


Logan, 3, and Justin Holbrook, 14, rode to dinner with the life-size cutout of their father, Lieutenant Colonel Randall Holbrook, a Maine National Guardsman from Hermon, Maine. (Bridget Brown/ Bangor Daily News via Associated Press)
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. sorry,
but that's creepy as hell.
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Tesla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I had someone from the Air Force tell me about this at a party last week
She said that there are tons of families with them.
They set seats at the table for them, put them in their chairs at night,beds.... etc
She was creeped out about it.
Two different families on her block already had them.

Flat Daddy's......crazy!
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
3. I keep feeling like I should reiterate this when this story pops up:
With the deployment schedules some people have had, their very young kids literally didn't know what they looked like. As seemingly insane as this solution seems on the outside, at least kids will have some familiarity with the likeness of their father (I'm sure it's disproportionately fathers here) who may not even necessarily come back from Iraq alive. It's a band-aid that puts a face on an emotional bond.

Of course it's going to be horrible for the families of those killed or crippled in action no matter what the war but, the strain being put on soldiers who aren't even killed or crippled (including the people who get injuries that let them return to duty after treatment) is just incredible; it's not like, you do one tour and you're done unless you volunteer to go back. Flat Daddy is the result of strain on a much broader basis and an attempt to make life better for the living once they go home to their families, so that their children know their faces.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. I can understand that.
Still, when we end up giving kids cardboard cutouts of their parents so that they remember what they freaking look like, doesn't that say something about where we are as a nation?

Of course, my father was never absent for long stretches for any reason, but I have to imagine that these things would have freaked me out. Flad, smiling daddy sitting at the head of the table at dinnertime? How many kids are going to be really messed up later on, especially if real daddy doesn't come home?
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Very bizarre
and creepy. It seems to comport with the virtual reality that pervades our culture. There is a deep psychosis at work here.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. it's a perfect analogy for the whole society, yup.
Christ on a crutch, how bizarre.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. re: "Doesn't that say something about where we are?" YES.
Now, I'm not convinced that these kids are going to be "really messed up" later on MORE than kids who had a father die in a far-off war whose face they never knew. (I don't mean looking at a photograph. I mean KNEW. Babies don't look at photographs to find out who Daddy is.) But I think yes, it says a lot about the situation the nation is in. I just don't think it's necessarily some sort of cruel harm to these children in principle.

...But, the "at the dinner table" thing, and so on, the way the Army is encouraging, that's a bit far, yeah, and drilling in the hope that the person will return, sure. The Army wants it to be a morale-boosting measure, too. Not sure about that use at all. That use says a lot about where we are, too.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
4. It is incredibly stupid and the fact that someone thought a real
father could be replaced by a cardboard cutout is an indication of how much value Bush and company put on the rest of us (somewhere between little and no value at all).
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soothsayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
7. Are they anatomically correct for the lonely wives left behind?
Jeez o flip. Bring the troops home NOW!
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sce56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
8. Not a bad idea kids need it ! The best thing is to SEND THEM HOME NOW
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
10. cardboard love?
what the fuck were the people who thought this up thinking? disgusting
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rfranklin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Yep, it's about on the level of Karen Hughes PR for Islam...
And we're supposed to get a "warm and fuzzy" feeling from this.
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Psephos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
12. If it helps some people, then what's the problem?
Seems like an enhanced version of photographs to me.

I look forward to the day when such improvisations won't be needed.

Peace.

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northamericancitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
14. This is sick. Totally sick.
If Daddy (Mommy) doesn't come back are the kids suppose to bury the cardboard too?

If Mommy (Daddy) gets tired of waiting and get a new partner are they suppose to burn the cardboard?

If the kids want to invite a friend for a car drive do they have to let Daddy at home?

Fucked up society.
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