Soldiers misunderstood, unappreciated

By Charlotte Huntley/Contributor

(Published Nov. 6, 2006, 12:38 p.m.)

The setting was the Harbor Ballroom at the Abbey in Fontana. Over 700 people packed the room to hear Oliver North, a nationally syndicated columnist and the host of War Stories on the FOX News Network.
North was a guest of Faith Christian School, Williams Bay, as the keynote speaker for their annual Faith Promise banquet.

Wearing a blue suit and a red and white striped tie, North first spoke about what it means to be a hero, a person who puts him or herself at risk of the benefit of another.

He then introduced Raymond Hubbard from Allens Grove. Hubbard was injured on July 4 of this year, five miles north of Baghdad International Airport.

He suffered the loss of his left leg, a shattered elbow, a stroke from severed arteries in his neck from shrapnel and soft tissue damage. He was transported by a C17 to a trauma hospital in Germany and from there to Walter Reed. He arrived home last Friday. Hubbard is halfway through his service of six years. His wife, Sarah, is a teacher and they have two children. In North's estimation, Hubbard is a true hero.

North, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a combat-decorated Marine, believes that there is a misunderstanding of the people who serve our country.

Contrary to those few who practiced torture in Abu Ghraib and the false Newsweek story about soldiers who flushed pages of the Koran down the toilet, most service men and women are noble.

The average age of a soldier is 19-1/2. They are a high school graduate and they are all volunteers. A typical soldier carries a Bible, prays overtly for colleagues and comrades and exhibits the finest example of self-sacrifice. North feels they are unappreciated.

Negative stories have not stopped re-enlistment. North said that re-enlistment is the highest it's ever been. North recalled a letter he got from a serviceman who had heard North speak at his school in 1993. The student was inspired to become a Marine and served in Iraq. He wrote, "I now look at the world with entirely different eyes. I thank God for the experience."

North spoke with great fervor for education with a Christian base. He quoted Martin Gross, from his book, The Conspiracy of Ignorance, that 94 percent of those who attend Christian schools which are members of the Association of Christian Schools International, of which Faith Christian is one, go on to higher education and that their norm is equal or exceeds the most expensive preparatory schools in the country.

North, a grandfather of eight, has been married to his wife Betsy since 1968.

He also serves as the honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, the conservative public policy organization he founded in 1990. It awards scholarships to children of severely injured or deceased military persons.

War Stories with Oliver North airs each Sunday at 7 p.m. His special, The Real Story of the Tet Offensive, airs this Sunday night at 7 p.m.




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