07/13/05 — Introspection: A soldier’s words foreshadow his own sacrifice

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Introspection: A soldier’s words foreshadow his own sacrifice

You probably remember the story about U.S. Army Corp. Phillip Edmundson, even if the name doesn’t ring a bell.

Cpl. Edmundson was recently honored after losing his life in service to his country in Iraq.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield spoke recently in the Wilson soldier’s honor on the floor of the U.S. House. He discussed his bravery, of course, and his service to his country.

But Butterfield also read a poem written by the young man, just prior to his death.

I was that which others did not want to be

I went where others feared to go

and did what others failed to do.

I asked nothing from those who gave nothing

and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness.

Should I fail, I have seen the face of terror;

Felt the stinging cold of fear;

and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment’s love.

I have cried, pained and hoped

but most of all, I have lived times others would say

were best forgotten. At least someday

I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was

A soldier.

There has been much talk about military bases, cuts and Iraq over the last few weeks, and what we should and shouldn’t be doing about each topic.

As we make those decisions, we should remember the men and women both here and in other places around the country who choose to protect rather than be protected, who choose to defend their country no matter what the cost and the families who serve along with them.

The debt we owe them is one we really cannot repay.

What we can do is remember their faces, the good work they are doing and the sacrifices they are making.

We should take Cpl. Edmundson’s words to heart.

It is indeed a proud calling to be a “soldier.”

Almost as much as it is an honor to be remembered as a hero.

Published in Editorials on July 13, 2005 11:27 AM