I couldn’t help but contrast the essential frivolousness of a big scoop in today’s New York Times with the gravity and dignity of another piece by a genuine hero.

The New York Times story blows the cover of Aero Contractors Ltd., which appears to be an ordinary charter flight company in a small town in North Carolina. “Nothing about the sleepy Southern setting hints of foreign intrigue. Nothing gives away the fact that Aero’s pilots are the discreet bus drivers of the battle against terrorism, routinely sent on secret missions to Baghdad, Cairo, Tashkent and Kabul.”

Well, now of course, everybody knows that the seemingly sleepy little airport is used by the Central Intelligence Agency. There’s no hint of CIA wrongdoing — just a childish revelation of something that might harm our national security.

By contrast, Army Sgt. Michael Carlson, who was killed in Iraq in January, wrote a piece while still in high school that brimmed with values so different from those of the spoiled brats at places like the New York Times. Carlson wrote:

“I admire my father more than any other person on this planet, not for being a mechanic or a tough guy but for his ambition. For 30 years, he has gone to work every day, come home, gone to the garage and worked more hours. I don’t know how he does it but I do know why. He does it for us. He wants my brother and me to have everything we need and most of what we want. Lots of people say that the best way to learn is by the example of others. Well, then I have one of the best teachers on how to be a man [and] how to treat others. I mean, he is not perfect by any means, but is anyone really perfect? I think that he is pretty close.

“Sometimes I wonder if my dad ever thought of college. I wonder if he is happy. I sometimes even feel sorry for him. What I mean by that is that I look at him and I see a guy who has spent his entire life working. That is what he does. He works. If my mom never brought up the idea of a vacation, he would never think [about taking one]. He would work to the day he died. I love hard work, but how do you go to the same dead-end job every day knowing that you will be doing it forever?”

Many thanks to Powerline for spotting Sgt. Carlson’s moving credo.