- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2003

Nobles: Army Spc. Hilario Bermanis, for the truest sacrifice of citizenship.

Some heroes need no decoration. Their honor is worn regardless of what they are wearing, and their sacrifice outshines gleaming medals of service and rank.

Spc. Bermanis is one of those people. Determined to serve the United States, he enlisted in the Army three years ago, when he was just 18 years old. He joined the 82nd Airborne Division and was sent to Iraq. While he and a fellow soldier were guarding a weapons turn-in point in Baghdad, they were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades. His buddy was killed instantly. Spc. Bermanis survived, but he lost both legs and his left hand.

Spc. Bermanis had laid down a great sacrifice for the United States — few who have given more are still alive. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Yet, those shining insignias were outshone by one salient fact: Spc. Bermanis was born in Micronesia. He was not a U.S. citizen when he enlisted or when he was wounded. This week, Spc. Bermanis became a U.S. citizen, at a ceremony attended by Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi. “None sacrifice more for the opportunity to be called an American,” Mr. Principi said, “than those wounded or injured while wearing the uniform of the United States of America.”

In time, Spc. Bermanis will likely adjust to his injuries. The volume of the applause he is properly receiving will fade; his close friends in his group of recovering Iraqi amputees will move on to lives of their own. Yet, for the rest of his life, Spc. Bermanis will carry the honor of his sacrifice and the distinction of being a citizen of the United States of America.

Knaves: Washington Sen. Patty Murray, for sullying September 11.

Some dates need no ornamentation. Their name alone is sufficient to call up memories of infamy, sacrifice and courage. December 7, 1941, is one of those days. So is September 11, 2001. Mrs. Murray claims that she woke this past September 11 with “a sense of sadness of what happened two years ago.” Apparently, that mood passed quickly, since she was at the Monocle restaurant early that morning, warmly greeting a group of close friends.

Those friends had paid $1,000 per plate to meet Mrs. Murray for about an hour, from about 8:30-9:30 a.m. The fact that during that hour two years ago, two jetliners crashed into two towers, killing nearly 3,000 people, did not seem to have taken away from the festivities. After all, Mrs. Murray walked away from the fund-raiser with $10,000 for her re-election campaign against Rep. George Nethercutt.

At least Mrs. Murray is being consistent with her defilements and distortions. Last year, she suggested that the United States could learn a lot from Osama bin Laden’s good-neighbor policy of paving roads and building schools.

Seattle residents just dumped their latte tax over concerns about its costs. They should consider dumping their senator as well.

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