Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Local Story on Soldier Poignant

I happened across the well-written story by Nora Wallace in yesterday's News-Press on Sgt. Michael Rider of the 82nd Airborne and a Lompoc native while getting a coffee. Nora's work is one of the few things I do miss since I stopped reading the News-Press. Here's a snippet of her excellent article:

"We each have saluted a casket, or a flag, or a set of dog tags in honor of someone who has given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation," he wrote. "And when we go home, we won't be able to explain to civilians why we wear a bracelet on our wrist nor will we be able to explain why we walk with our heads high, filled with thankfulness that we have had the opportunity to serve in such outstanding units among America's true unsung heroes."

Every soldier, he said in an interview from his base in Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82nd Airborne, has had to go through such a service.

"The general public doesn't get the concept," of what goes through a soldier's thoughts during such a time, said Sgt. Rider, who graduated Lompoc High School in 1996.


Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

I read Michael Rider's letter in the Army Times. My son pointed it out to me. He served with Michael Rider in Iraq. They rediscovered each other when my son returned to Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne in January. Nora Wallace wrote about my son.

I recently went to Fort Bragg to visit my son and the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne--the most deployed unit in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I asked my son if he would invite over Michael Rider so I could meet him. He was a remarkable young man, and I learned a great deal of important information about the wars and our soldiers. I learned especially what a fine young man Michael Rider is.

I called Nora Wallace to tell her about this amazing soldier and how she needed to interview him and told her about his moving letter that so many soldiers were reading.

Nora Wallace is one of the reporters the soldiers of Santa Barbara trust. She has done a great service with her occasional series. Her work would make a fine book.

We have many fine soldiers in our community--some who have given the last measure of their devotion to our country.

Sometimes I am very sad that our community doesn't do its best to honor them. Recent City Council votes and conversation were particularly troubling to our soldiers...they deserve better.

What has the council done but USE the soldiers as political fodder? Have you seen a soldier honored in council chambers?

4/08/2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

Whether you believe in war or not, Thanking all the men and women who defend our country is something I can never do enough of. This is a touching reminder that they are peopel who's shoes most of us will never walk in. THANKS!!!!

4/08/2008 11:09 AM  

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