12/28/12 — A humble hero: Gen. Schwarzkopf leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire

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A humble hero: Gen. Schwarzkopf leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire

Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf did not seek the limelight of a political career after he led coalition troops in Kuwait and directed the first Gulf War.

He would pop up periodically to comment on the events in the Middle East and would offer commentary intermittently on the state of politics and military policy in America, but his purpose led elsewhere -- away from the glare and spotlight of politics.

He considered himself a soldier first -- and he counted his success in his career in terms of that profession.

He was a hero, a man's man with the humility to understand that in battle, it is troops and allies who win wars, not just the generals.

We lost Stormin' Norman this week to pneumonia -- a surprising reminder that every hero is at his core just a human being with all the frailties that go along with that designation.

It does not seem possible that a man with so much presence could be gone so soon.

The lessons of Schwarzkopf's life are courage, dedication and determination -- a legacy he learned at the knees of the heroes of the Greatest Generation and a banner he carried as he trained the next generation of military heroes.

And, as simple as it might sound, he was, at his core, a warrior, a continuation of a line of heroes who fight, distinguish themselves in life and on the battlefield and then move on to their next role, their next cause.

His story is one that will be repeated in various forms over the next decades as a new generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines takes up the cause of freedom.

And it is a line of courage he would have been proud to inspire.

Published in Editorials on December 28, 2012 10:35 AM