In 2005, my unit had a sendoff ceremony as we got ready to leave for Iraq. The keynote speaker was Governor Pawlenty, and his words have stayed with me ever since.
Rather than look to professional athletes, rock bands and Hollywood actors as our idols, we should look to the American soldier, he said. In an age of war and uncertainty, it is the soldier who raises his hand to volunteer to do something about the problems in the world.
Contrast that sentiment with the obsessive media coverage given to the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger. I enjoyed several of the movies he was in, but his death has generated over 1.5 million Google hits.
Which leads me to wonder how many readers, conservative Republicans that most of you are, are familiar with the names of the two men awarded the Medal Of Honor for service in Iraq?
The first is Army Sergeant First Class Paul Smith. During the initial invasion, he manned a 50 caliber machine gun by himself to repel an enemy assault. Credited with killing over 50 enemy soldiers and saving almost 100 of his own soldiers from being overrun, he was killed during the battle. Just over 36,000 Google hits.
The second is Marine Corporal Jason Dunham. In April, 2004, Cpl Dunham used his helmet and his own body to smother an enemy grenade. He didn't hesitate even a second to give his life for two of his fellow Marines. 13,500 Google hits.
Who are your heros?