For over 225 years, American soldiers have sacrificed so much so that you and I can enjoy the freedom that this country has to offer. They stand in harm’s way twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to protect our nation from its enemies. This Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember one of those heroes, Sergeant Dennis Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman who made the ultimate sacrifice and, in doing so, showed the world what the American soldier is truly all about.
In March of this year, Sergeant Weichel was part of a convoy in eastern Afghanistan which stopped because children were in the road picking up spent shell casings. Shell casing is a commodity that can be sold at market in Afghanistan. As Sergeant Weichel and his comrades successfully cleared the road of the children, a young Afghan girl again went back into the road, unaware that a U.S. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) was heading straight towards her. Noticing that the MRAP was about to hit the girl, Sergeant Weichel sprang into action and threw the Afghan girl out of the vehicle’s way. Tragically, Sergeant Weichel was hit by the vehicle and later died of the wounds he had suffered.
Sergeant Weichel was twenty-nine when he was killed. He left behind a fiancée and three children. As a father himself, he saw that little Afghan girl in danger, his fatherly instinct kicked in, and he saved her. Too often the media wants to sensationalize the bad stories that have leaked out of Afghanistan about the military. The story of Sergeant Weichel is a reminder that our brave men and women in uniform are gentle warriors who take care of business when necessary but will also go out of their way to help their fellow man.
Nearly eight years ago, during the battle of Fallujah, soldiers showed what taking care of business really means. They took Fallujah, an Iraqi city plagued by insurgents, through heroic means. It was a story that needed to be told, and Citizens United Productions released “Perfect Valor,” a vivid war documentary hosted by Senator Fred Thompson in 2009. The award-winning documentary tells the true story of the soldiers who fought in the battle of Fallujah. When you watch the documentary you will see why America has the best military in the world.
We are lucky that we live in a country where men and women volunteer to protect our freedom. We must never forget their sacrifices as well as the sacrifices of the families who are left behind. Please remember soldiers like Sergeant Dennis Weichel, who left behind three children and a fiancée, this Memorial Day. His sacrifice must never be forgotten.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!