Thursday, August 11, 2005

No heroes in Iraq?

Captain (1964-1970) Dave St. John, USMCR, rightly criticizes the lack of focus shown toward the exploits of our fine men and women in Iraq.

He writes:
Who then celebrates the heroism of these young warriors? Who even knows
about them? How many can we name from memory? When was the
last time we saw newspapers and television networks clamoring for print and air
time to interview and tell the stories of young American service members who did
great and selfless things for his or her buddies? Why isn’t the heroism of
our service people sought out and reported on with the same intensity as
the misdeeds and alleged misdeeds of a few, not to mention the negative news
that streams daily from the front lines through our media? Why aren’t they
brought into school assemblies as strong, positive examples of true sacrifice on
behalf of our country?
It seems that in the media we primarily see our troops
in their role as casualties. Where are the heroes?

I have been remiss in finding out who these heroes are, and I'm sure there are many. Sometimes I happen to come across a story that highlights a certain soldier's bravery, but it seems that more often than not, like Captain St. John writes, we hear about the negatives of our military, what's going wrong.
Some more snippets from the article follow. They show how true heroes are not so merely because of the attention it gives them. No, it's who they are. And as much as whole groups (e.g., police, military are criticized for a very small percentage of bad eggs, far greater chaos would follow if we didn't have their services. I salute our heroes, and apologize for not doing my part to recognize them properly.
Why are they are not feted on every talk show and every newspaper
in our country
as examples of positive role models?

I can look in the eyes of our troops and tell you why they, after being wounded,
volunteer to go back to Iraq to cover the backs of their buddies rather than go
home to a soft, easy medical rehab program close to family and friends. I
can tell you that these young folks are the mettle upon whom we can count to
stand against the escalating threat of global terrorists and religious nut
balls.
They will slip quietly back into the mainstream of our country’s life when their
tour is over. They will tuck their medals into bureau drawers and get on
with their lives. Their heroism, even though it got short shrift from many
of their countrymen, will strengthen them and they will be the neighbor that
everyone wants living next door. They will raise the next generation of
children taught to appreciate their country and to “put it on the line” without
being asked.

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