We buried a boy from the neighborhood yesterday; a young, handsome man, at the start of his life. His family owned a food store, here in town; he bagged my groceries, he went to a church just down the road and he graduated from the same high school as my children. He was twenty-two...twenty-two!
How can someone that young leave so soon? It seems that Sargent Russell Kurtz had a sense of duty far beyond his years. His belief in freedom, honor and country was rock solid...unshakable. Sometimes you wonder how someone so young can have such conviction.
While the Representatives and Senators in Washington are acting like children...this child was acting like a man. He was in Iraq, dealing with the challenges of war. It was there, near Fallujah, that a roadside bomb exploded and took his life.
Like many Americans, my position on this war has vacillated. Sometimes I'm confident that we're doing the right thing and other times I'm not so sure. I think the President himself must feel this way. I do believe that we're engaged in this struggle for noble reasons. We are the undisputed leader of the free world. We believe in the importance of liberty and the dignity of man. As a nation, we have a responsibility to the rest of the world. If we don't acknowledge that responsibility then who will? What will happen to those who can't defend themselves?
We can debate the war ad infinitum, but we can never debate the courage, goodness and decency of brave young people like Russell Kurtz; the young boy from the neighborhood, who grew up to be a hero.
Thank you Russell. Godspeed.