Friday, December 17, 2004
Heroism, Life and Death
Definition of Heroic:
a : exhibiting or marked by courage and daring
b : supremely noble or self-sacrificing
c : of impressive size, power, extent, or effect
I read this post over at GOP Bloggers, and the above definition came to mind, since these definitions describe the actions of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta on November 15, 2004. Peralta's battalion was mopping up sub-human terrorist thugs in Fallujah on that day, as recounted by Oliver North:
Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head and chest with multiple shots at close range.Knocking on death's door, this man reached back through the veil of mortality to do one more selfless act in order to save his comrades. All three of the above definitions apply to Sgt. Peralta. To Sgt. Peralta, I say rest in peace. Godspeed, and Sempre Fi.
Peralta's fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged on, a "yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade," as Lance Corporal Travis Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they were all standing and came to a stop near Peralta's body.
But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn't dead - yet. This young immigrant of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his green card, who volunteered for the front line duty in Fallujah, had one last act of heroism in him.
As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked it under his abdomen where it exploded.
"Most of the Marines in the house were in the immediate area of the grenade," Cpl. Kaemmerer said. "We will never forget the second chance at life that Sgt. Peralta gave us."
I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that you haven't heard of Sgt. Peralta, nor his brave acts. Far more people have, unfortunately, heard of the spineless act of selfishness exhibited by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, who...
... did something the liberal elites consider "heroic" and the media consider "newsworthy" - he defied an order. Last week, Paredes refused to board his ship bound for Iraq along with 5,000 other sailors and Marines. He showed up on the pier wearing a black tee shirt that read, "Like a Cabinet member, I resign."Was Paredes act "daring"? Well, I certainly wouldn't have dared to show up wearing a shirt like that.
Was it "supremely noble or self-sacrificing"? Hardly. Self-sacrificing to the extent that he'll get thrown into the brig and court-martialed. From a military perspective, "supremely noble or self-sacrificing" to me means to put one's life on the line in defense of one's freedoms and country. His acts are certainly not of "impressive power, extent, or effect."
Paredes wanted to stay home where it was safe. America is now his home, a home that welcome him when he was an immigrant. A home that was provided, defended and protected for him by countless men and women who did exactly what Paredes lacked the spine to do. Yet, the liberal elites call him a hero.
Let's not forget the true heroes of our day. There are men like Sgt. Peralta who are willing to take on the terrorists half a world away so we don't have to face them here at home. Let us keep these men and women in our prayers. And may they know of our gratitude for their sacrifice and their true heroism.