By Betty Brant , Bugle Staff Writer,
with Ed Brubaker, Bugle correspondent
MANHATTAN, New York — Steve Rogers, better known to the world as the star-spangled Captain America, was shot multiple times and killed on the steps of the Federal Courthouse in New York City. One shooter is in custody, but authorities are still seeking a second gunman whom they believe fired the fatal close-range shots that took the hero's life. Despite leading a squad of rebellious superheroes in direct conflict with the nation's Superhuman Registration Act and causing millions of dollars in property damage and military costs, Captain America's ending of the costumed Civil War and assassination has restored the American icon as a symbol of heroism and raised him to near martyr status.
Steve Rogers was born and raised in Manhattan, struggling through the darkest days of the Depression, during which he lost both his parents to illness. A passionate American patriot, he was inspired by Franklin Delanoe Roosevelt's New Deal to give what he could back to his nation. Due to his time in suspended animation from the end of World War Two until his discovery by the famous super human team known as the Avengers, Rogers' age is unknown.
Before the U.S. entry into World War Two, young Rogers saw newsreel footage of Hitler's soldiers on the march through Europe, and tried to enlist in the Armed Services, but was declared physically unfit to serve. Rogers then volunteered to be a subject in the top-secret Super-Soldier Experiment, Project Rebirth. Though he was meant to be just the first of many American Super-Soldiers, the death of the project's chief scientist left Rogers as the one and only of his kind. Soon after, the legend of Captain America was born.
Rogers fought through nearly the entire European conflict, alongside other heroes including his sidekick Bucky, until both were presumed dead in an explosion over the English Channel in 1945. But Rogers was not in fact dead, and after decades, he was discovered still alive by the Avengers on one of their earliest missions. Emerging in modern times alongside those costumed adventurers, he redefined his role as a hero more than a soldier, and grew to become as much a symbol for this country today as he was in the 1940s.
Captain America was often a controversial figure, known for refusing to go along with the status quo and pointing out political corruption that sometimes went to the highest levels of the government. Rogers often said that he didn't represent the government, but instead represented the ideals of the American Dream, and was known for quoting the founders, from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, when giving speeches. He was a member of no political party and refused to take any side in partisan debates.
Services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, where in spite of the recent controversy, he will receive full military honors, and memorials are scheduled around the country throughout the month. President Bush has declared this Saturday's funeral for Rogers as a National Day of Mourning.
For more on this story, please see CAPTAIN AMERICA #25
, MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: CAPTAIN AMERICA REMEMBERED and FALLEN SON: WOLVERINE