Peggy Noonan: A toast to American troops, then and now
A funny thing. We're so used to thinking of American troops as good guys that we forget: They're good guys! They have American class.
Whatever is decided in Washington I hope our soldiers know what we really think of them, and what millions in Iraq must, also. I hope some day they get some earned tenderness, and wind up over the hills of Iraq, and land, and an old guy comes out and says, "Are you an American?" And they say yes and he says, "A toast, to old times."
Comment: Roger exited the USMC Reserves today after 75 months of service.
- I remember the day he enlisted. He did it without asking my advice, but by telling me (the day before) "tomorrow I am enlisting in the Marines".
- I tried to dissuade him. I asked him to consider the Air Force or the Navy. But he was adamant about joining the Marines.
- On the Tuesday after Memorial Day 2001, he left for San Diego for boot camp. I wrote to him almost every day. He came back from boot camp with many of my letters unopened - he was just so busy that he could not read letters every day! (He since opened and read them.
- On 9/11 he was in combat training at Camp Pendleton, California. He happened to cut himself that day and had to be seen by a Navy medic! He was told then about the events of 911.
- One might think - "oh a reservist! How hard could that be?". Roger was on active duty for over 2 1/2 years of his six years in the Marines. He was a freshman at St Cloud State when the Iraqi war commenced. He was called up and sent to Cherry Point for a year. Back to St Cloud for another semester. Then he volunteered (on July 5th, 2004) to go to Iraq with another unit. He was again activated for another year and spent 7 months in Iraq.
- Leaving the Marines is tough for Roger. He aspires to get his bachelor's degree in Economics. He also works full time at Wells Fargo. He knows he cannot do all three: work, school, and the reserves. And so he made the difficult decision to not re-enlist!
My Son is one of those "good guys" with "American class". He is a true patriot who loves his country enough to serve it. He has a unique combination of toughness and gentleness. He is more of a man than I ever was. I admire him and I salute him! Thank you Roger for your service to our country!