Tuesday, July 08, 2008

For the Naysayers...

"...More than 1,200 US troops serving in Iraq signed up for extended service in the military to mark America's national day on Friday.

At least 1,215 troops re-enlisted for periods ranging from two to six years at the ceremony held at the spacious Al-Faw palace of executed dictator Saddam Hussein near Baghdad airport.

General David Petraeus, the head of US-led coalition forces in Iraq, said he was "proud of their decision to re-enlist and help the people of Iraq win their most important battle ... freedom."

The US military has regularly re-enlisted service members in Iraq but Friday's swearing-in was one of the largest, the military said..." (source)

...And honoring a hero:

"Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor was killed in battle in Iraq in September 2006, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in April.

His funeral in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego was attended by “nearly every SEAL on the West Coast,” President Bush said.

During the service, as Monsoor's coffin was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, Navy SEALs lined up in two columns. As the coffin passed, video shows each SEAL slapping down the gold Trident from his uniform and deeply embedding it in Monsoor's wooden coffin.

The slaps were reportedly heard across the cemetery.

The symbolic display moved many, included Bush, who during his speech in April's Medal of Honor ceremony spoke about the incident.

"The procession went on nearly half an hour," Bush said. "And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”

He had been assigned to protect fellow SEALs on a rooftop in Ramadi, Iraq, when a fierce firefight with insurgents broke out. During the battle, a grenade bounced off Monsoor’s chest and landed on the roof.

Faced with the choice to save his comrades or save himself, Monsoor threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the impact." (source)

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