Iraq War Anniversary--Colorado Recruitment Levels Remain High, "Duty To Country" Cited As Top Reason
Of course, there are the famous soldiers like Navy SEAL Danny Dietz, killed in Afghanistan and remembered in the excellent book "Lone Survivor" by fellow SEAL Marcus Luttrell, whose commemorative statue caused a stir last year when moonbats felt that the representation of the brave Coloradan using the last known photo of him "glorified violence" because he was holding a gun.
But the sacrifice has been felt by many others less well-known, but equally deserving of praise and thanks, including Marine Jon Lujan, injured the first week of battle:
Colorado has lost more than 50 of its own since the war in Iraq began five years ago and Fort Carson has lost more than 200, according to the Department of Defense. The DOD says nearly 500 Coloradans have been injured.Despite the MSM's best efforts, Coloradans are signing up for what seems a very old-fashioned reason--a sense of honor and duty--but the MSM wants you to believe it is only for economic reasons that recruitment remains high:
Lujan is among those that were injured, but his wounds started to heal over time.
. . .
Five years after he went into Iraq, Lujan looked back on the protests, the reunions, the battles and the funerals.
"It's a day with mixed emotions. I woke up today and realized what today was and there's anxiety, there's sadness, there's a whole gamut of emotions," he said.
He says the best thing anyone can do for any Iraq War veteran is just to say "thanks."
"I don't want 'em to react any different than they would for anyone else," he said.
Lujan says he has no regrets.
"For me, I was just doing my job," he said.
A sense of "duty to country" is cited as the top reason for enlisting, but a struggling economy back home makes Army jobs look attractive. Cale Margheim, 40, lost his banking job and has a wife and child.You don't exceed quotas merely with a flagging economy.
"They're supportive," Margheim said. "Of course they don't' want to see me deployed, but they are supportive of me."
The Army is meeting recruiting goals in part by offering big incentives -- up to $73,000 for college, up to $65,000 to pay off existing student loans, up to $40,000 in sign up bonuses and family medical benefits.
"I needed to get out of debt and I started paying for school," Army enlistee
Justin Owens said.
At the recruiting office in Denver, quotas are not only being met, but exceeded.
But then that doesn't fit their neat little narrative of our soldiers, now, does it? Coloradans are not alone, as reenlistments across the nation continue to soar.
The hardest job at home--casualty notification--follows Marine Maj. Steve Beck and the families of fallen soldiers.
Fort Carson has seen a lot of loss, including Staff Sgt. Michael D. Elledge:
Elledge, 41, of Brownsburg, Ind., and Cpl. Christopher C. Simpson, 23, of Hampton, Va., died Monday during an operation to locate and clear insurgent bombs from a road in northeast Baghdad.And a reminder of the folks who hold "peace" vigils and claim to support the troops by wanting to "bring them home":
Their unit, 1st Battalion, 68th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, is working to police neighborhoods near Sadr City.
Their deaths bring the number of Fort Carson soldiers killed in Iraq to 235, including eight members of the brigade who have died since the unit left in December for its third tour in Iraq.
Elledge was considered an old man in his company. The two-tour Iraq veteran was a teenaged Marine, left the military, but joined the Army a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
"When 9/11 hit, he felt a real need to re-enlist," his sister, Marsha Johnson, said by telephone from Detroit. "He was a real patriot."
While he loved his country, Elledge managed to put his wife and three children first in his life, Johnson said.
"The biggest thing for him was his family," she said
. . .
His dedication to duty had earned him the Army Commendation Medal.