A low-key tribute from Reason TV that’s no less moving for being so. Spare five minutes if you can. Actually, spare seven minutes and use the remaining two to read David Ignatius’s quietly stirring account of his time with troops in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a nice generational bookend to the clip and resonant of Obama’s speech at Fort Hood yesterday saluting the modern American soldier as every bit the equal of those who went before him. Quote:
In truth, the U.S. military may be the most resilient part of American society right now. The soldiers are clearly in better shape than the political class that sent them to war and the economic leadership that has mismanaged the economy. (I’d give the same high marks to young civilians who are serving and sacrificing in hard places — the Peace Corps and medical volunteers I’ve met abroad and the teachers in tough inner-city schools.)
Through all its difficulties, the military has kept its stride. That sense of balance comes partly from the fact that soldiers are anchored to the American bedrock. This includes the stereotypical small towns in the South and Midwest that have military service in their DNA. But it also counts plenty of hardworking, upwardly mobile Hispanic and African American families in urban America that produce some of the best soldiers I know.
I had the pleasure of living in the military family when I traveled for 2 1/2 weeks recently with U.S. Central Command. What I heard, listening into the military’s unscripted conversations, were the wisecracks and dark humor of soldiers trying to make the best of a hard situation. But there was also the satisfaction of fighting these tough and sometimes thankless wars: The troops don’t boast about it, but they are very proud of what they have managed to accomplish.
The most gripping image: The long lines of troops waiting to receive challenge coins from Petraeus for having served two or more tours.