Letter to the Editor

Thanks to yesterday's heroes

Thursday, June 10, 2004

EDITOR'S NOTE -- Cpl. Jeff Tidyman has been activated with the U.S. Marine Corps and has agreed to share occasional columns on his experience. A reservist with a Des Moines, Iowa, unit, he is the son of Larry and Carla Tidyman of Benkelman and a civil engineer in civilian life.

Memorial Day weekend marked the midpoint of language school. The first two weeks we studied Modern Standard Arabic, the coming two will be Iraqi Arabic. Two weeks, even four, is not enough to learn much of a language. Rather than have us memorize rote phrases, the instructor has chosen to teach us some of the mechanics of the language --plurals, possessives, etc. -- in the hopes that we can build there on what we learned here. I have enjoyed the classes, and because of my previous exposure to the language, aptitude, and long hours of study, I have excelled in my work here.

This Memorial Day I was struck most by the distance between a soldier and his or her home. And not just the physical distance. There is a chasm of understanding as well. Try as I might, I will never know what the brave American soldiers faced in the sweltering jungles of Vietnam; the frozen snows of Korea; or the bloody beaches of WWII. We can never know, we can never imagine, what they went through for us, but we can appreciate the sacrifice. Thank you.

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