Friday, December 17, 2004

REAL HEROES DO EXIST...

No More Heroes?
Oliver North
December 17, 2004

Most readers of this column probably haven't heard about Rafael Peralta. With the exception of the Los Angeles Times, most of our mainstream media haven't bothered to write about him.

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As of this writing, the Internet's most used search engine will provide you with only 26 citations from news sources that have bothered to write about this heroic young man.

Then, just for giggles, do a Google search on Pablo Paredes. Hundreds of media outlets have written about him. The wire services have blasted his story to thousands of newspapers.

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You see, Pablo Paredes, a Navy petty officer 3rd class, did something the liberal elites consider "heroic" and the media consider "newsworthy" -- he defied an order. Last week, Paredes refused to board his ship bound for Iraq along with 5,000 other sailors and Marines.

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It is a shame that the media focus on such acts when they could tell stories about real heroes like Peralta, who "saved the life of my son and every Marine in that room," according to Garry Morrison, the father of a Marine in Peralta's unit -- Lance Cpl. Adam Morrison.

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At the fourth house they encountered that morning, the Marines kicked in the door and "cleared" the front rooms, but then noticed a locked door off to the side that required inspection. Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head and chest with multiple shots at close range.

Peralta's fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged on, a "yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade," as Lance Cpl. Travis Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they were all standing and came to a stop near Peralta's body.

But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn't dead -- yet. This young immigrant of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his green card, who volunteered for the front line duty in Fallujah, had one last act of heroism in him.

Peralta was the polar opposite of Paredes, the petty officer who turned his back on his shipmates and mocked his commander in chief. Peralta was proud to serve his adopted country. In his parent's home, on his bedroom walls hung only three items -- a copy of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. Before he set out for Fallujah, he wrote to his 14-year-old brother, "Be proud of me, bro ... and be proud of being an American."

Not only can Rafael's family be proud of him, but his fellow Marines are alive because of him. As Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade and tucked it under his abdomen, where it exploded.

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Oliver North: No more heroes?