Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We Honor Sgt. Justin Rettenberger

So many Americans take their freedom for granted. Perhaps they believe that the liberties we enjoy as free Americans are showered upon them, flowing from inexhaustible source that never needs attention. They're so wrong.

Sgt. Justin Rettenberger left a message on Aaron's page at fallenheroes, a message that haunts every American who values the men and women who serve to keep the United States free. Sgt. Rett was with Aaron when he was killed in Iraq, and he's now a Marine recruiter. He writes about the parents of potential recruits who have cursed him for attempting to offer an American the priviledge of serving his country.

I can understand that parents want to cling to their children and are reluctant to send them in harm's way. I can understand a parent fearing the nightmare of being informed that their son or daughter has been killed. I can't, though, understand abusing a Marine recruiter, one who has fought valiantly for his country. I can't understand insulting a member of the same military whose sacrifices enable those parents to spit out their vituperations. How dare they.

How dare anyone curse a member of the U.S. military. The men and women who fight for us, defend us, aren't infallible, and they're certainly not perfect. But they deserve, they have earned, our respect. Sgt. Rettenberger is a hero, a man to be honored for his bravery and dedication to his country and his Marine brothers. He doesn't deserve to be cursed.

Recruiters have a difficult job, and the waning support for the war in Iraq isn't helping them to encourage men and women to serve their country. But you know what? The recruiters' job shouldn't be so difficult. If all parents would teach their children from infancy that our American liberties come at a cost and that it is a privilege to serve their country, then there wouldn't be any difficulty for the military to fill its ranks. Instead, children are taught to take the men and women who defend us for granted. They're taught that our American freedom is cheap.

And it's not.


De'on Miller said...

Thank you for honoring this precious, precious man. The Marine who carried my son.

I will always hold him in the highest regard. I will always love him and I respect him to the utmost.

And I feel for the parents who want to save and protect their child. With Aaron, I wanted him to go. I was proud of him, and I knew he'd be proud of himself.

For the parents who want to hang on to their children, it's instinct, but it's also impossible.

Thanks for this post, Steve. Maybe we could tell the readers about the book Diane suggested on Aaron's message board. I'll try to do that later.

Diane said...

That was beautiful! He is a true Hero and deserves the utmost respect from every American. Thank you so much for paying tribute to one of my Hero's.

Stay Safe!

De'on Miller said...

Thank you, Diane. You have been such a comfort to me for so long now.

It'll be all right. We'll keep him and Iowa in our prayers. I know they are frantic (the parents) and Sgt Rett is used to being around people who love the Marines. It's a big change for him, but like Karen says, we need people in that "hot" seat right now, and he is trained for dodging bullets...he'll have to dodge a few in his office (regretfully).

Semper Fi, Marine Mom and friend!

Semper Fi Mom (aka MinuteMom) said...

My younger Marine son did recruiter's assistance over the Christmas break. From the things he told me, being a recruiter must be one of the most thankless jobs in the country. I don't think I could take all the rejection. That's why I take fudge and cookies to our local recruiters as often as I can. ;)

De'on, I know what you mean about parents wanting to hang on to their children. That old saying that they are only on loan to us is true. We'll always love them and they will always be our babies, but they have to grow up and make their own choices. We are raising them to be responsible adults, not perpetual children.

De'on Miller said...

You nailed it, Semper Fi, Mom. And thank you for taking the fudge. You ladies who think of everything amaze me. We can't forget those who are stateside with us. We can't ever forget any of them who choose to wear the uniform.

God care for you and your families, Marine Parents! ALL PARENTS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for your support. De'on I send my love and Steve thank you for the write up. Being in the infantry for 8 years I have always had marines around me.I can deal with the rejection the hard part is being away from my marines. I have had no greater joy in my life then to lead marines. For some reason I took that conversation personel more like a slap in my face not just to me but to all who have served past and present, state side, and to those who are in the heat of battle as i write this. Well I guess before i get on a soap box I should end this but once again thank you and trust me after reading all of this I'm ready to get back in the fight tomorrow.
semper fi
Sgt R

Steve Ramos said...

We're always here for you.

De'on Miller said...

And some of us would snag you and keep you if we could. I could line a couple of mugs out for messing with My Marine that way!

Sign up EVERYONE! Wait outside the hospital after the birth of their babies ... a perfect time to be planning their children's future!

Just joking, but we are here for you and those you come in contact with will be prayed over.

I love you, Sgt. Rett

Anonymous said...

Great post Steve...and very timely..Virgie bell said

marinemom1 said...

thank you all for supporting my precious son sgt. rett. as i listen to his accounts of his newest challenge, the heart of a mother breaks.i wish i could talk to the parents who curse my son. i know the fear of a child joining the military and being taken off to the unknown. i know the sleepless nites and wondering if this is the day that i will get "the news". i know of the well meaning people who say "why don`t we just get out of there and bring our kids home. we`re not doing any good anyway" or my favorite "your son is in the military?!?! how could you let him do THAT!?!?" my son is an honorable man and makes good desicions in his life. cling to your children with open arms. believe in them and they can believe in themselves. i can get much comfort from the obvious support you all have for him.god bless you and thank you and from the bottom of my heart. christine jensen marinemom

De'on Miller said...

I will always love your son. I'm sorry to say that the person who posted this has no honor whatsoever, and in fact has a warrant out for his arrest for cruelly ripping our family off so badly.

Please visit our new site at:

I pray Sgt. Rett is doing well. The death of Major Zembiec has hurt us all.