Yesterday's Rochester Post-Bulletin ran a David Broder column that opens with this astonishing lead:
The two wounded warriors stood side by side in the sunshine of the White House Rose Garden. Tony Blair and George Bush, partners in a trans-Atlantic alliance that has come a cropper in Iraq, tried to shield each other from the slings and arrows of two nations' reporters.
David Broder needs to get out more. Really, he does. And he should spare us the drama: the Washington press corps isn't an insurgent force or terrorist army wounding the president.
This is what a wounded warrior looks like: B.J. Sprenger, a 22-year-old Minnesota National Guardsman from Sleepy Eye, who was badly burned on March 19 when a bomb exploded and destroyed his vehicle. Sprenger turned 22 the next day; his
aunt grandmother told the Journal earlier this year that he would have been home in March had President Bush not extended the Minnesota National Guard's deployment.
He came home yesterday to a hero's welcome in the small Brown County town. He's the guy throwing out the pitch.
The New Ulm Journal reports:
A Minnesota National Guard soldier badly burned when a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on March 19, in Iraq was honored with a motorcade through town Tuesday afternoon.
B.J. Sprenger, 22, the son of Vicky Sprenger and Robert Sprenger of Sleepy Eye rode atop a fire truck on his way to the Prairieview Park softball diamond where another ceremony for him was held.
. . .He suffered severe burns to his arms, legs, face and lungs in the blast that took place while he was riding in a Humvee while on patrol two months ago.
Sprenger was flown to a U.S. Army hospital in Germany before he was transported to an Army hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Fort Sam Houston, near San Antonio, Texas.
After ICU, Sprenger underwent several skin graft surgeries in Texas. He later began physical therapy.
Now he’s home for 30 days before returning to San Antonio for more rehabilitation.
KEYC-TV has more in Sleepy Eye Soldier Gets Hero's Homecoming.
We do have a suggestion: If the dean of the Washington press corps wants to see wounded warriors, we suggest that he quit hanging around the Rose Garden and haul tail over to Walter Reed. He could try listening to the House Veterans Committee Roundtable discussion today about eliminating the VA system's backlog on disability claims.
Audio link here (pick the 334 Cannon audio feed) for those who want to listen in. The roundtable discussion begins at 9 a.m. Central time.
Meanwhile, Representative Tim Walz is speaking out for pay hikes for our military. From the Democratice Daily: Kerry, Clinton, Emanuel, Murphy and Walz Fight for Full Troop Pay Increase
“Instead of calling for shared sacrifice after September 11th, President Bush asked Americans to go shopping,” Congressman Walz said. “By opposing the military pay increase proposed by Democrats, President Bush sends a clear signal to the troops that the only sacrifice he’s willing to ask for is one shared by our military men and women and their families. As a retired senior noncommissioned officer I am astonished at the President’s disregard for our soldiers and their families.”