Monday, May 29, 2006

Troop Tributes

On Memorial Day I want to highlight some stories that do an especially thoughtful and sensitive job of saluting our troops and showing the pain and grief they suffer.

Last month Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News wrote an inspiring profile of David Rozelle, who lost his right foot to a land mine on the border between Iraq and Kuwait. Sheeler's "Amputee in it for Long Run" describes how Rozelle runs marathons, even with a prosthetic leg. Sheeler is a master at capturing vivid details:
"His hat is stitched with the name of the Army running team he created - a team composed mostly of amputees:
'Missing (Parts) In Action,' the hat reads.
Alongside is the team's motto: 'Some Assembly Required.'"

In "Iconic Marine Is at Home but Not at Ease," David Zucchino of the Los Angeles Times profiles Blake Miller, who became a Marine Corps icon when a photographer shot a picture of him with a Marlboro in his mouth after an all-night firefight. A year later, Blake is back in his Kentucky home, fighting the demons of post-traumatic stress disorder. Zucchino does an excellent job of using quotes to let his sources tell the story in their own words. Check out this passage where Zucchino describes how Blake's wife reacted when she first saw the photo:
When Jessica saw the photo on the front page of the local paper, she had not heard from Blake in a week."I was glad to know he was alive, but I couldn't stop crying," she said. "The scared look on his face, his eyes — it tore me up."

And in "Tears, Tributes, and a Simple Memorial," Jenna Russell and Deborah Turcotte of The Boston Globe describe the work of the Maine Troop Greeters, a volunteer group that has welcomed more than 300,000 troops to the Bangor, Maine, airport as they travel to and from Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to welcoming the military personnel with cookies and hugs, the Maine Troop Greeters keep a plastic binder that lists all the American troops who have died in these wars. Russell and Turcotte show how this simple binder, now filled with more than 300 pages, 10 names to a page, has become a memorial for the returning troops, a way for them to check to see if their friends and loved ones have survived their tours of duty.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter