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Saturday, February 05, 2005

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Why follow the media....

....when you can get your news from the participants? Read this compelling story of the action in the "triangle of death" leading up to the elections, and the momentous efforts of the US Marines that led to the polls being open and thousands of Iraqis braving mortar fire to walk to the polls and vote for their freedom.

The Iraqis knew who their heroes were and made their feelings plain.
In closing, let me offer one last anecdote of our weekend. Hundreds of the Iraqi election officials were aboard our FOB, St. Michael, as we achieved election set. We closed our chow hall and turned it into a lounge for them.

Something occurred in that lounge that you all MUST know about. The Iraqis, as is their custom, set about drinking sodas, smoking cigarettes and talking in the loud and demonstrative tones they are accustomed to. Except for one spot. There was one spot in our chow hall where they would not smoke, they would not drink, they would not talk. There was one spot where all they would do is stand in silent reverence. That spot...our memorial table with the pictures of our heroic fallen. No, at this spot, they showed nothing but respect and honor! This was not something they were told to do, it was something that came natural to them.

I have asked myself many times why that is, and I have come to this undeniable conclusion: for they were bound with those Marines who gave their last full measure of devotion on the battlefields of Iraq not by religion, not by race, not by color, not by creed, not by custom, not by culture, not by anything one can think of save one thing: they were bound with those Marines as FREE MEN AND WOMEN. And, you see, FREE MEN AND WOMEN can disagree, but cannot hate! In this simple truth is the cause of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In this simple truth, we press on. In this simple truth, Cpl Brian Prenning, Cpl Robert Warns, Cpl Nathaniel Hammond, Cpl Peter Giannopolous, LCpl Branden Ramey, LCpl Daniel Wyatt, LCpl Richard Warner, LCpl Shane O'Donnell, PFC Ryan Cantafio, and PFC Brent Vroman gave their lives. That in bringing freedom to the world, hate will vanquish, and YOU, the ones the loved so dear, will live on free: free of fear, free of opression, free of tyranny and God Almighty in Heaven willing, free of War!
Only the chosen can be Marines. Only the brave can endure the hardship and terror of constant attack without spirits flagging. And only Marines can tell you the stories of the "triangle of death". Jounalists were not there.