Monday, June 27, 2005

Counter to the Protesters

There is a lot in the news about Iraq. For some reason, most of the stories are bylined either Baghdad (reporters refuse to leave the comfort of their hotel) or Washington DC (brutal combat in Congress! Kennedy and Hunter Clash over Rusmfeld!). Here are a couple of great reads, that show the glory of war, along with its terror, for war is truly terrible, but the most terrible of times present unequaled opportunity to rise above our usual selfish and ordinary selves. A hero needs a menace, and without a chance to die, it is impossible to truly love life. Never have I felt such vitality as when death has passed close by, but passed: A plane crash, a helo crash, a massive car bomb in Baghdad at the Assasin's Gate, a close miss with a missile over Afghanistan, my car t-boned by a guy doing 80, the crack of a large caliber bullet passing by my ear all served to remind me that live is short, but it is also sweet. The Lord of All gives life, and takes it when He desires, and He preserves it unto that day.

Does this mean that I love war, or think it is a good thing? No, rather, war is something that can cause us to consider that there is something more important than life, comfort and safety. That something, greater that ourselves, worth fighting for, worth living for, and worth dying for, is freedom. In this life, that freedom is the freedom from tyranny and oppression. Freedom to live and dream and hope and try and fail, and try again. In this life, regardless of physical freedom, we have a chance to choose eternal freedom, the freedom from fear of death, the freedom to live.

Anyway, here are some stories about those who have come through the fire (much, much more than I) and will have ghosts and fears, but also a new appreciation for life. First, a Sniper:

Boyish-looking and Midwestern to the core, John Ethan Place loves football games in the fall and traipsing through the woods hunting quail and deer with his dad, a retired school administrator.

Back home in Lake St. Louis, Mo., he's a regular at the nearby Baptist church.

He's also an expert at one of the most difficult aspects of warfare. He's a sniper, able to kill an enemy at 1,000 yards or more with a single shot.

On Friday, the 22-year-old sergeant received the Silver Star, the military's third-highest honor for bravery in combat.

In the battle for Fallouja, Iraq, in April 2004, Place had 32 confirmed kills, from April 11 to April 24, of insurgents who were trying to sneak into position to attack Marines from Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment.

And then, a fight in the trenches:
The two soldiers crept along the trench line, bullets thumping into the dirt around them. One was a lanky family man, 36, with two young sons and a 15-year career at International Paper Co. The other was a petite, single woman, 23, the floor manager at a Nashville shoe store.

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester handed Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein a grenade. He had the better arm. Nein hurled it at the insurgents, who were crouched in the same trench, firing their AK-47 rifles at the Americans in the early afternoon.

Hester and Nein inched forward, the two recalled, Hester firing her black M-4 assault rifle next to Nein's ear. By the time the soldiers climbed out of the trench, their lips were chapped from the heat, their faces smeared with dirt, and four insurgents lay dead or dying nearby.


Chuck said...

Both of the Sgts were awarded the Silver Star. Leigh Ann Hester is the first woman to win the Silver Star since WW II.

max said...

Exactly why these stories should be on the front page, instead of what the MSM currently thinks is 'news'...

These are heros, inspirational men and women who demonstrate with their lives the ideals of freedom.