“[I]t’s being fought — and not always fought (Mike and his men are engineers) — by men and women who may or may not agree with the war, but who promised to go if their country called, and who are honoring that promise.”

Rod has posted an absolutely heart-warming piece about the return of his brother-in-law’s unit from Iraq. The italicized line in the following block is, save, maybe the line where-with I titled this post, my favorite in Rod’s piece. Do read it.

The image above appears in the Baton Rouge Advocate today. It shows my brother-in-law, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Leming, as he got off the plane in Baton Rouge yesterday and greeted his family. In the photo is my sister Ruthie, their daughters Hannah (the tall blonde) and Claire. Little Rebekah is not in the photo because she’s clinging to her daddy’s leg.

On the subject of Iraq, I want to link to, for the second — if not third — time, this somber piece, “The Things That Carried Him”, from Chris Jones in Esquire. War sucks; this one, particularly. But just as we must always thank those, such as Mike Leming, who return to their families, we must remember all of the brave men and women whom we’re not so fortunate to welcome home with hugs, kisses, and thanks, such as Sgt. Joe Montgomery, an Indiana boy, from this catastrophic foreign intervention.

“It breaks your heart when you drive through and you see people and they’re crying for you,” Vicki said later. She was especially struck by the nameless mechanic in his coveralls, black with oil. He had crawled out from under a car, out of the pit, and he stood in front of the garage, perfectly straight, perfectly still, saluting the hearse, and lines formed under his eyes in the oil on his face.

God bless Mike Leming, Joe Montgomery, and every other American who honors the promises he has made.


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