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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Monday, October 6, 2008

The Courage of Others

This weekend, in my hometown of Howell, New Jersey; we had our first Home Game of our Varsity football team. Normally, I wouldn’t go to a game other than the Thanksgiving game that’s held yearly at either our school, or our rival school Freehold Township. This game was special though. Not only was it the first game my brother Lewis would be performing in the school band, but it was also dedicated to “Howell’s Hero”: First Lieutenant Brian Brennan.

Brennan, a graduate of Howell High’s Class of 2002, as well as The Citadel’s Class of 2006, was severely injured in an IED attack this past May. According to the literature on his trust’s official website, “…He had sustained an acute brain injury, a collapsed lung, internal bleeding, a ruptured spleen, multiple compound fractures of his left arm, and a shattered femur bone.” In addition to all of this, he had to have both legs amputated while undergoing treatment for his wounds.

I didn’t know Brian. I’m not going to say that I knew him and that I was pals with him. Sadly, it wasn’t until this incident that I knew he was in my High School class. I do know this however: he had the courage to do what myself and others couldn’t. He had the motivation and the courage to go into the military and fight in the War on Terror. No matter what your political leanings are, bravery like this is still magnificent to find. Particularly when you factor in that he knew the risks involved, he knew the job that had to be done, and he went ahead anyway when others would have said “No thanks.”

“We support the troops”. That’s something you hear all the time, particularly in politics. “We support the troops”. But do we respect them and what they do? Do we respect the people that truly put their lives on the line for us to sleep at night, and do we reward the efforts of these men and women the way we should? In the case of Howell Township, New Jersey…yes, we do. A lot of talk has been made of “small town values” lately…this isn’t talk. This is pure action. Not just on Howell’s part either. When First Lieutenant Brennan was coming home from Walter Reed Medical Center, radio station New Jersey 101.5 encouraged its listeners to line Route 9 waving flags as his motorcade went by. A trust fund has been set up, with several events lined up to raise money for the Brennan’s renovation project: converting their house to be handicap accessible, so their son doesn’t struggle returning to his own home.

I know of at least three other people who are over there, or are training to go into the Military, and possibly over to the Middle East, to support the war effort. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the military type. I’m too suited for Politics, and I wouldn’t last a day in the Armed Forces. I’m ready to accept that. But I respect those who are my total opposite. Those who say “Yes” to the call of duty, and those who have answered it in the past. (My father was in the Marine Corps just as Nixon ended Vietnam, My father’s father was a medic in the Korean War.)

It’s started to sound like a cliché, but my generation was the first of military age after 9/11, and some of us were the first to enlist to go into the military and fight terror where it lies. The motivations of the government may not have been the purest, but the motivations of the soldiers have always been what the McCain ticket claims today: “Country First”. We’ve lost too many brave men and women already. Sons, daughters, wives, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, best friends. All gone forever. But thankfully, for the Brennans, their son is coming home. Isn’t it time we brought everyone else home?

For more information http://brennanstandsalone.org/index.php


Kurgan said...

Good post, one of your best.

Mr. Controversy said...

Thanks. Appreciated as always.

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