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September 20, 2007

Eulogy For A Spartan: Bill InDC Remembers 1LT Travis Manion, RIP

Powerful stuff.

A childhood friend named Steve Brown said, "Travis was the first person to ever really stick up for me," after they had just met in the 5th grade. Manion had lectured a racist store clerk who ignored Brown because he was black, insisting that his new friend was served first....

***

There was the time that Manion and his team were struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) while conducting a mounted patrol. After absorbing the blast and verifying that no one was seriously injured, he saw the glint of a "command wire" that sometimes leads to a bomb's owner. Jumping from the safety of the armored vehicle, Manion spotted and charged after the triggerman fleeing the scene. Though wearing 80+ pounds of "battle rattle" - armor, equipment and ammunition - Manion won the footrace against the small, wiry man, cornering and capturing his terrified prey in a building. As fellow MiTT Marine Maj Joel Poudrier put it, "He just stormed in and knocked a bunch of boxes the guy was hiding behind out of the way, flexi-cuffed him and dragged him out. That kid was a stud."

What bothers me about the perpetual "chickenhawk" baiting from the left is the unstated assumption that for mere want of desire we'd all be over in Iraq fighting the bad guys.

They don't seem to acknowledge or comprehend: These are heroes. These are better people. It's true I lack what Manion had, and I will never be what he was. Is that shameful? Indeed, it is a source of some shame; but I can acknowledge, reluctantly, what is denied by the chickenhawk-baiters: There are better men than me, better, braver, and stronger in body and mind and spirit.

The constant question: Are you afraid to go to Iraq? Of course I'm afraid, Champ. The only people who aren't afraid are the Fool and Hero, and since you're asking me from the safety of a nice cozy apartment in Chelsea, I'm pretty sure you're not the latter yourself.

The childish baiting seems to deny the credit which Lt. Travis Manion is owed, as if the only thing keeping an army of would-be novelists from writing a best-seller is an extra hour a day and a clean desk.

Bill suggests you donate to a memorial fund in Lt. Manion's name.


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posted by Ace at 05:42 PM

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