Pete's Blog

Heroes

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I was in the Philadelphia airport this morning, and there was more than the usual number of soldiers in the security line. I heard one of them say they were all on 5-day passes to see their families before going to Iraq. You don't know what to say. One man said, "Bless you. Get home safe." That seemed about right. Then I walked into the waiting area, where all the televisions played CNN at top volume: botoxed nonentities interviewing other botoxed nonentities about nothing. This is the culture these men are defending with their lives? It reminded me of another time, a few years ago, when the invasion was just getting started. I was in a restaurant in (I think) Kingston, New Jersey. The place had two televisions, one tuned to a news station, the other to a basketball game. Shaq had just won the game and was being interviewed, surrounded by adoring cheerleaders, flashbulbs popping everywhere. The other set showed the interior of a cargo plane in flight, one anonymous paratrooper after another jumping out the door into the night. A night jump behind enemy lines on the one side, a millionaire who can shoot a basketball on the other - who gets the glory?

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