Tuesday, June 29, 2004

How To Support The Troops

John Kerry shows how to do it. Here's my favorite excerpt:
Panel 31W, Row 42. On February 24, 1969, 19 year-old Marine Lance Corporal Wolfendale, just 17 days from coming home, was at the tail end of a three day firefight. Only one bunker of Viet Cong remained when a group of Marines suddenly got trapped in a depression in front of it.

Ed Wolfendale was safely away from the bunker and could have easily stayed there and kept his head down. Instead, like so many of our comrades, Ed thought little for his own safety and acted — he grabbed a Light Anti-Tank Assault Weapon and charged into the line of fire. On his way, Ed took a direct hit and bled to death in the field. When the men in his platoon saw what Wolfie had done, they immediately followed his lead and soon overtook the bunker.

This could have been where the story ended — but the spirit that brings us here today had a hand in this story. A member of Ed Wolfendale's platoon, Tom Smith, saw Ed go over that hill and was in the wave of men who followed him. Though he didn't really know Ed Wolfendale, Tom never forgot what he did. After he returned home, Tom spent the next thirty years searching for Ed's family to ensure they knew how he died.

He didn't know his real name, he just knew Wolfie, so it wasn't until recently that he was able to track down his family. To his shock, Tom learned that not only did Ed's family not know how he died, he discovered that Wolfie had only received a Purple Heart. A few years back, because Tom Smith never forgot his comrade, Ed Wolfendale's 82-year-old mother Stella and five of his six brothers accepted the Silver Star on his behalf.
Note how Kerry praises the troops, how he celebrates our ideals and how he mutes his criticism. We can all learn from this example.