Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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- A week into the Iraq war, one photograph has become indelible: a young, grimy soldier in full battle gear, a look of deep concern on his face, carrying a wounded Iraqi child to safety.
The photograph has been on newspaper front pages around the world and broadcast on American television networks.
The soldier in the picture, Pfc. Joseph P. Dwyer, 26, is still in the field, about 80 miles outside Baghdad with the 3rd Infantry Division. Until Thursday, he hadn't a clue that he was famous. His reaction when he found out?
"Really, I was just one of a group of guys. I wasn't standing out more than anyone else," he told the Army Times in a telephone interview.
Dwyer's parents live in Wagram, N.C., where they moved after his father retired as a New York transit policeman. Dwyer grew up in Mt. Sinai on New York's Long Island. His three older brothers are New York City policeman.
Dwyer was sure he had lost a brother in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade towers. "I thought he was gone."
But when he talked to him the night of Sept. 11 and learned his brother was safe, "I knew I had to do something."
Two days later, Dwyer enlisted in the Army to become a medic.
"It was just what I could do at the time," he said.
And it gets better. In the midst of a firefight when our troops saw a father carrying his wounded child American troops jumped into the open to help him. This is the army that everyone tries to castigate as babykiller and war criminals. Without a second thought they did what they knew was right and put themselves in danger doing it.
"It came over that there was a family that had some injuries," Dwyer told the Army Times. "We went on down there. It was kind of hectic at first. We didn't know what was going on. Who was friendly and who wasn't.
"We didn't want to get too close to the village knowing that there could be possible enemy there," he went on. "We saw him with the child. He came running out to where we had the hospital set up."
And then he and some other soldiers, weapons at the ready, bolted from cover to help. Dwyer reached the father and grabbed his son, cradling the young boy in a protective embrace as he raced back to safer ground.
And how typically American. Compare his attitude to what you see in the street protests.
Dwyer's mom, Maureen, said her son's reaction to his sudden fame wasn't positive.
She said he told her during a telephone conversation after the photograph was published that he "was not a hero. He said everybody else over there is doing the same thing and he really feels bad" because he was singled out.
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