« Topless Golf? Bring It On | Main | 12 Questions for Kerry »

September 16, 2004

Heroes: The Untold Stories

"Uncommon valor was a common virtue"
- Admiral Chester A. Nimitz, speaking of the Battle of Iwo Jima

I know everyone is preoccupied with RatherGate right now, and many other bloggers are covering the story ably. I see no reason to duplicate their efforts. In my usual contrarian fashion, I have a bee in my bonnet about something else. Not too long ago, Jessica Lynch's name and picture were plastered over TV screens and newspapers worldwide. But the faces of some rather remarkable Americans remain virtually unknown - most of the lamestream media aren't interested in covering their stories. In fact, I routinely have to go looking for accounts of men who commit acts of uncommon valor on a daily basis. Some receive medals. Others rest in flag-draped coffins or come home strapped to hospital gurneys. Many quietly return to duty, with little or no notice taken of their actions. Today I hope to remind you of all three kinds of heroes.

The story of Jessica Lynch was well publicized, but the story of the Marines who came upon her unit's position an hour after the ambush, and the hellish battle those Marines endured that day, isn't as well known.

One Marine who was there on that day was recently awarded the Navy Cross. This is unusual: the award is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. But this Marine doesn't think of himself as a hero. With typical understatement, he plays down his actions:

"There are heroes in life, but we are not it. We're just Marines," Lehew, company first sergeant, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), said after recalling the events of a dreadful day over a year ago.

Read more...

Over at Marine Corps Moms, a young Marine half a world away writes home to his Mother:

Dear Friends and Family,
Growing up in a middle class upbringing as I did, you are in a way shielded from the horrors of life and death in war. Such innocence and ignorance is almost apart of your skin. Yeah, you hear of countries with oppressed people, the unfair justices, and deaths of many in the wars of the past. But you never get to experience or see the effects of it all. Well, today I finally had my first experience.
On September 5th, 2004, at 1630, the ceremony for the deaths of PFC Nicholas M. Skinner and LCPL Alexander S. Arredondo was held. Walking to the formation, feeling the punishing heat and the combination of sand and rocks below my feet, I was not prepared for the display...

In what is perhaps my favorite war movie, General Robert E. Lee counseled Pete Longstreet:

We do not fear our own death, you and I. But there comes a time... we are never quite prepared for so many to die. Oh, we do expect the occasional empty chair, a salute to fallen comrades. But this war goes on and on, and the men die, and the price gets ever higher. We are prepared to lose some of us, but we are never prepared to lose all of us.

The bravery of those who fight, who are wounded, and those who are left behind to wait and hope, is something that never ceases to amaze me. And then there's the third kind of hero: the kind who commit acts of valor every day: undecorated, often unrecognized, never expecting anything but the satisfaction of a job well done. This post is dedicated to our Armed Forces and to my good friend Maureen, and Jarhead Dad, and Deb over at Marine Corps Moms. All three have sons serving in the WOT. Thanks for all you do to support your sons and the military. And thanks to all our military families for giving this country such fine young men and women. Their quality reflects your own.

America owes all three kinds of heroes a debt we can never fully repay. Last Sunday I stood on the Senate lawn with a crowd of veterans who fought in Vietnam. When they returned, we never thanked them for their service. We never really acknowledged the sacrifices they made on our behalf. We stood silent when John Kerry blackened their good names and called them criminals, rapists, and murderers. When he called the cause they were so proud to fight and die for a mistake.

Let's not make the same mistake this time around. Please pray for their safety now and their speedy return home. And if you see them on the street, remember to say, "Thank you." And, "Well done."

Well done.

- Cassandra

September 16, 2004 at 01:58 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83452b19169e200d83420f66353ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Heroes: The Untold Stories:

» Heroes: The Untold Stories from In Bill's World
Cassandra has a great guest post up at The Mudville Gazette. (As a regular reader of her site, I'm sure there will be more.) Click here or here to read her post. Just to whet your appetite: ... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 16, 2004 6:01:05 PM

Comments

Actually, Cassandra, Sergeant Lehew has it exactly right. "There are heroes in life, but we are not it. We're just Marines."

I'm an old Air Force jet jock, (F-4 Phantoms), but as I've gotten older, there is something I've come to appreciate more and more.

We have our heroes, and one step above them, we have our Marines.

God Bless every single one of them.

Posted by: Bugz at Sep 16, 2004 5:12:33 PM

Bless you for saying that. I've been lucky enough to be associated with the Marine Corps since 1981, and they continue to amaze me every single day.

Posted by: Cassandra at Sep 16, 2004 5:39:12 PM

Well now, national Democrats continue to amaze me everyday, too. I listen to them argue that tax increases are good for the economy in total, utter amazment. I hear them say that partial birth abortion is no different than a D&C of a 2 month fetus and shake my head. I hear them argue about how unfair it is that felons don't get to vote and that law abiding people shouldn't get to protect themselves from felons. I hear them say that Bush is Hitler, a Nazi, etc., and can't believe my ears. I'm amazed at the things they say. I'm amazed they can get to work without wearing a helmet. I guess is depends on your expectations.

Posted by: KJ at Sep 16, 2004 5:58:15 PM

Well now, national Democrats continue to amaze me everyday, too. I listen to them argue that tax increases are good for the economy in total, utter amazment. I hear them say that partial birth abortion is no different than a D&C of a 2 month fetus and shake my head. I hear them argue about how unfair it is that felons don't get to vote and that law abiding people shouldn't get to protect themselves from felons. I hear them say that Bush is Hitler, a Nazi, etc., and can't believe my ears. I'm amazed at the things they say. I'm amazed they can get to work without wearing a helmet. I guess is depends on your expectations.

Posted by: KJ at Sep 16, 2004 5:58:42 PM

I am also amazed that they can post only once.

Posted by: KJ at Sep 16, 2004 5:59:17 PM

Scratch one boat shed but no damage to the boats! ;-)

It is to you Cass that I give my thanks. If it weren't for you and folks like Grim, Blackfive, Greyhawk, Bloodspite, and all the Milbloggers you'd just about have to put me in a rubber room and let me out only after deployment! :-)

When you are constantly being barraged by the negatives and you watch your offspring fight battles that the politicos won't allow him to win it begins to wear you down. If it were not for y'all and the breath of sanity and experience I'd probably go postal somewhere! I am so flabbergasted at how things get so twisted when you know better through actual firsthand knowledge of events. I look at the tactics being used today and find them the same tactics being used in the 60s and 70s. Same people - same results. For awhile!

Then the Milbloggers kicked in and for those that seek it truth wins out. Can you imagine having another 70s debacle? Another Winter Soldier hearing? If not for the Milblogs it would've come to pass. The naysayers and pantywaists still managed to stunt the military's ability to finish off Fallujah as it was. FINALLY people have started seeing what lies, innuendos, and mis-truths they have been fed for years!

It is us military families that owe y'all a debt of gratitude for getting the truth of what is really happening out there for people to read. And for y'all's support of the entire military community!

I'd salute you but I'm indoors! he-he!

What's really neat about being a Grunt's dad is the people you meet throughout. I have never seen such a tight group of honorable people that share their strength, support through love, and are ever so ready with a prayer than the Marine Family I've become a part of. And it doesn't matter if your child is 2/2, 1/7, 3/4 or whatever. The support and compassion of Marine Families is a Godsend! Semper Fidelis is not simply a slogan! It is a way of life for all concerned!

You have people like Ms Gloria whose son Adam was wounded on patrol with Da Grunt. She has constantly kept us abreast of the condition and rehab/surgery details of young Adam. Where does strength like that come from? She has taken a horrific sitrep and used it as a call to faith and an example for the rest of our 2/2 Family. Now to me that is what makes a true hero! Our Corps Family is full of people and stories like that. The support for the families whose sons didn't make it is so real. There is no faking in this crowd. We live and die with every one of our Marines and that way of life creates a bond that will be everlasting IMO. We may lose touch with each other after deployments or transfers but we will always be family! If that makes any sense!

What can you say about these kids that have volunteered to give their life for their Country if need be? This is the finest group of young people it has ever been my pleasure to know. I consider it an honor for them to allow me in their lives. I stand in awe of their devotion, honor, and sense of duty. When we lose one we all lose a part of ourselves but we understand what type of young people these are and what they gave their lives for. These young folks are quite simply glorious in their duty to each other!

Sorry, didn't mean to go off on a mile long post! Just suffice it to say that I, for one, appreciate you and all the Milbloggers for the support you have given! You deserve high praise and regard!

But that doesn't mean I won't give up snarking you at every opportunity! :-o

Posted by: JarheadDad at Sep 16, 2004 8:50:59 PM

Me too! I whined about something military and then was too ashamed to post something nice, so here goes.

After our accident, I needed to have a ramp built outside. I have stairs but they are uneven and I was forbidden to walk them until I was more fully recovered. I had four fractures in my pelvis, and was bedridden for three months. I am now able to walk.

HOWEVER, a fundraiser was held for us, and the Engineers, the guys who clear mine fields, build bridges, prepare battlefields to slow down or stop the enemy...the combat engineers of 3rd Amry HQ, came and built it.

These were men and women that had served with dh over in Kuwait. He is an engineer too...but we were just FLOORED with the outpouring of love, support, prayers and
kindness from the military community in East Point.

Posted by: L aFemme Crickita at Sep 17, 2004 2:30:02 AM

Hey, we're a family :) Like all families, we have our dysfunctional elements, Cricket. You know I'm not big into glorifying the military - there's plenty to respect and praise there without trying to pretend there are no flaws anywhere. If you love an institution, you want it to be the best it can be, and it doesn't become that way if you refuse to see its shortcomings.

I think when things get tough, you see the wonderful side of family: the love and support you don't get from anywhere else. But I didn't take what you said wrong either, you know. I grew up in the military and then married a military guy. I swore I'd never marry a Navy man...and I didn't - I married a Marine! (and that was no slam on the Navy - believe me). I have a lot of love for the Navy - the Unit is from a Navy family too, and his brother is currently serving.

I had just watched my Mom deal with the lonely years while my Dad was at sea and thought to myself that I didn't want to have to live that way.

So what do I do? I marry a Marine and end up with 2 years unaccompanied over at Okinawa and countless months when he's gone on shoots. But it's not as bad as you think growing up: you cope just fine. If I had a daughter, I'd tell her: go ahead. You can handle it. (unless of course I thought she couldn't)

And the officer corps has some residual political silliness that you still have to deal with, but even a lot of that I chose to involve myself with, so I shouldn't complain really. You have to take the good with the bad.

One good thing I will say about the Marines, culture-wise, is that they're less hidebound and authoritarian than some of the other services - there is a great respect for doing things the right way, but also the freedom to occasionally speak your mind.

Posted by: Cassandra at Sep 17, 2004 4:47:32 AM

And to that I would add "heaven help the outsider who speaks against us."

Outsider=Civilian

And we have our causes. Toys for Tots is one that we have donated to over the years, as well as individual causes like fundraisers for different people and the recent offering request you made here a week or so ago.

The Chief has been able to locate at Dr. for this sweetie. I will post updates in the comments sections where appropriate.

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at Sep 17, 2004 8:50:45 AM