The Enemy Camp

After Obama's speech the other night at West Point Military Academy, commentator Chris Matthews made the statement:

"He went to maybe the enemy camp tonight to make his case.”

Now I don't know about you but for me I find it very offensive for anyone to use the term "enemy camp" in any way shape or form in regards to West Point.  I would put his comment well on par with the comment made by Doug Lambert here in NH about Ray Buckley as far as it's level of offense, but unlike Buckley the troops right now at West Point do not have a questionable past deserving such animosity.

I could go on and on about reasons I am personally offended by this remark but I think anyone reading his statement can understand the cause for people to be alarmed and upset.  Instead I would like to share a person recollection of West Point and explain to those who fail to grasp the anger some of us feel in hearing that statement why West Point is such a prestigious place and such a term would cause the feeling of anger.

My grandfather was a military veteran who served as an Army paratrooper in both World War II and Korea.  He was not drafted but instead enlisted by choice.  He made multiple combat jumps in both wars and received six purple hearts during his time in service.  The last combat jump he made in Korea cost him his arm.

He was hit by a mortar shell on his way down.  Nearly his entire platoon was killed or captured.  He landed severely wounded far behind enemy lines and crawled into a hole created by one of the bombs.  At that time he had only lost two fingers but his hand and arm was full of shrapnel.  For three days he laid in that hole waiting for someone to find him, keeping his damaged arm tied off and giving himself morphine shots for the pain.

During those three days of hell two Korean troops found him and pointed a rifle at his chest.  Knowing some Korean he was able to understand them, the second soldier told the first he was already dead so not to waste the bullet and they left him.  After three days the US had fought their way up to the hole he had been laying in.  By now gangrene had set in and there was no way to save his hand.  He lost everything from just past his elbow down.

From that point in his life on he had to wear a hook.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s robotic arms that looked more like hands started to come around but the one he had was so heavy and uncomfortable he didn't like wearing it.  Any time his hook broke or needed upkeep he had to drive down to a military hospital next to West Point.

On a side note, having been with him for this two hour drive every time he needed to see a doctor this is a strong reason I object to what Carol Shea Porter and company is doing and feel that we should instead of limiting where our veterans can go, should instead be looking to do away with veterans hospitals and allow them to go to ANY hospital.  But alas, I am getting off the topic and we can debate that all we want in other threads.

So he had to drive two hours to West Point for his hooks and to see his doctor.  While he was getting treatment my sister and I would walk this amazing campus with my grandmother looking at the troops in their clean sharp uniforms.

After he finished up, the exciting part of the trip was to visit the military museum.  I haven't been there in years but I understand my grandmother gave one of his uniforms to them after he passed and it is now on display.  Anyway, we'd always end at the same spot, a huge mural of the D-Day invasion.  I haven't seen it in years but that picture is as fresh in my mind as when I first saw it.  My sister and I would look at the sky full of paratroopers coming down on the beach and turn to my grandfather and ask, which one are you?  He'd point to some white dot on the picture and say, there I am.  That made the rest of our day because we saw grandpa on the painting.

The rest of the day we would eat then head back home but what I remember is the amount of respect these young men and women gave my grandfather.  You could see it in their eyes, they looked at him and they truly respected him for the sacrifice he gave this country.  They more then anyone else understood because they were there in uniform willing to make that same sacrifice of life or limb for this country and what it stands for.

Knowing the type of life my grandfather had and the pain he had to deal with day in and day out for anyone to claim he and those young men and women at West Point are "the enemy", well I'm sorry but that is about the worst thing anyone could call them.  Knowing the sacrifices they make on behalf of people like Chris Matthews, defending his right to free speech which allows him to make such offensive statements, he should be kissing their butts and thanking them every single day.

I find it shocking how liberals called for days on end here in NH for Doug Lambert's head on a stick and so far I have only seen them defend what Matthews said.  I hope, he and all the liberals who are defending his outrageous statements that there will always be a West Point and always be people there like my grandfather willing to put themselves in danger to keep the rest of us from ever having to see that danger.  And I hope someday they may actually wake up and see the light as to why they should honor West Point instead of look down upon it.