City Should Welcome Marines With Gratitude

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

After the mass was over, the young man in the Air Force uniform went up to the communion rail with his mother and stood by as she burnt a candle. I tapped his arm and when he turned around, I said, “Thank you for your service.”

He beamed shyly and nodded and I quickly hurried away.

It’s not an easy thing for me to accost strangers like this, but whenever I see anyone in the military, I want to show my appreciation. This week, however, I have my work cut out, because the city will be a sea of red, white, and blue.The fleet is in.

The 19th annual New York City Fleet Week celebration ends on Memorial Day, May 31, and the schedule includes events I wish I were young enough to enjoy. Sure, I would love to strap myself into one of the world’s fastest jets for the wildest ride of my life via an F/A-18 flight simulator, but I have enough trouble with the seat belt in my car.

What I really would like to see is the response this Saturday to the approximately 60 Marines lining up Broadway between 27th and 58th street to personally show their gratitude “for the support New Yorkers have shown our troops during the War on Terror.”

This last part is a direct quote from the Navy’s fleet week Web site that I find rather amazing considering that New York seems to be the hotbed of anti-war protesters and the “I loathe the military” crowd. I’m glad the thank you demonstration ends on 58th Street because going further north to the Upper West Side might prove too provocative.

Exactly how supportive New Yorkers are to our troops certainly can’t be determined by two recent commencement ceremonies in this liberal town. Senator McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war, was challenged by Jean Sara Rohe, a New School student who said, “I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong, and I know that George Bush’s agenda in Iraq is not worth the many lives lost.” Naturally, this “brave” student, who spent a summer in Havana to sharpen up her Spanish, was cheered by the student body and faculty members.

At Staten Island’s Wagner College, General Wesley Clark won cheers from the student body when he criticized the Iraq war, saying,”we found no weapons of mass destruction … the incidents of terrorism around the world have increased year by year … and the good name of the U.S. has been blemished by the invasion.” The crowd of 2,000 gave him a standing ovation.

At least the brain-dead protesters at Boston College were silent as they turned their back on their commencement speaker, Secretary of State Rice. Honestly, I don’t know why on earth anyone even bothers to speak at the colleges and universities where freedom of speech is so poorly tolerated whenever it veers from the liberal cant.

Well this is one New Yorker who is gung ho military because I will never forget the animosity my family felt as we bid farewell to my Marine brother at the airport as he was off to Camp Pendleton before shipping out to Vietnam. The flower children were in full force at JFK and anything but serene with their whispering sneers at our tearful farewells.

They’ve reappeared as aging hippies and pony-tailed academics spouting the same rhetoric as if that’s the only tune they know. Will they show up this morning for this event: “The Marines of the 10th Marine Regiment from Camp Lejeune, N.C., will conduct a three-mile cadence run through lower Manhattan Friday morning as part of New York City’s 19th Annual Fleet Week Celebration. The run will begin at 10 a.m. near the Battery Park City Pier, continue past Ground Zero and stop in front of the PATH Station on Church Street. The Marines will be joined by members of the U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Police Dept. and the Fire Dept. of New York. The run will serve as a commemoration to those whose lives were taken on Sept. 11, 2001. There will be a wreath laying and prayer service.”

Probably not, because this event would be a reminder of why these brave men and women are serving valiantly in our military.

The good news for New York is that genuine heroes have come to town and they are sooooo good looking. Hollywood celebrities and heartthrobs simply can’t compete with the uniformed forces that are here for Fleet Week.

I sincerely hope they are welcomed with gratitude and honor.

The New York Sun

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