The screening of "Outside the Wire" was a huge success. I was glad to be there to support the CRs. I am very proud of them.
I think many students who really had no idea before what was going on in Iraq have a much better idea now. This was an incredibly educational moment. It's what college should be all about: smashing misconceptions and broadening horizons. Too bad the media wasn't there to cover it and hear the stories of our local heroes.
Since the draft ended some 34 years ago, a bigger disconnect exists now between those who have served in the military and those who haven't than at any other time in recent American history. When veterans were asked to identify themselves, maybe half a dozen in a crowd of around 100 raised their hands.
I'm not advocating the return of the draft. Our modern technological military requires skilled volunteers. We have the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force in history. But it is concerning. The war in Iraq is being fought by 19 to 24 year olds. As was pointed out in the movie, war is all some of these young men have known since high school. Yet, to their peers in the audience tonight, military life and war must seem as alien and unknown as the dark side of the moon.
We have often heard the WWII generation referred to as "The Greatest Generation." But I'm here to tell you that the young men (and women) who serve in our armed forces today would stand out among any generation. They volunteer to serve in a dangerous and dirty war, where death or dismemberment can come suddenly and at any moment, some of them over and over again. One young Staff Sergeant in the movie left behind a comfortable job and family to lead his Marines into battle one more time. And they do it out of the most noble of patriotic motives.
We owe these heroes, and they are heroes in every sense of the word, our respect. And we owe them undersanding, at least as much as possible, of what it is they do and why.