While maybe not as disgusting and morally bereft as some of the hooligans at funerals or outside military hospitals, I think that this stunt take the cake:
CARBONDALE, Ill. – For two years, Carbondale residents have been riveted by the writing of a little girl imploring her father in Iraq: “Don’t die, OK?”
Only now are they learning there was never any danger of that.
The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University’s student-run newspaper, today will admit to its readers that the saga – of a little girl’s published letters to her father serving in Iraq – was apparently an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a woman who claimed to be the girl’s aunt.
The woman dreamed the whole thing up, even taking the girl to the newsroom on occasion and once getting a man to play the part of the girls dad “back home on furlough”. Then they claimed he had been killed and held a little memorial service…with pictures of a man who didn’t look like the other man.
I can’t really excerpt parts that stand out, because it would be most of the article. Go read.
More here, including:
There is no soldier named Dan Kennings. The charming girl people came to know as Kodee Kennings is someone else entirely, a child from an out-of-state family led to believe she was playing a part in a documentary about a soldier.
Using role players, including an employee of a local Christian radio station, the woman at the center of the hoax spun a remarkable wartime tale so compelling it grabbed the hearts of young journalists, university faculty members and readers, and left them blind to the possibility it could all be a ruse. There appears never to have been a monetary motive. In fact, the reasons behind all the lies remain unclear.
And the memorial service:
On Saturday morning, cars began pulling into the gravel parking lot of a one-story American Legion hall in Orient, Ill., about 30 miles northeast of Carbondale. Hastings and Kodee got out of a red Grand Am, the little girl wearing an Army uniform shirt that hung down to her knees.
People inside the memorial service said both Hastings and Kodee were in tears. A video showing Dan Kennings in his fatigues speaking with a group of children at a church was playing, and there was a scrapbook filled with pictures of Kennings straddling a tank cannon or huddling with other soldiers.
This story has a lot of additional info so check it out as well.
Just plain weird. (via Malkin)