Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"You'd wish you had a whole class full of Hectors"

The above quote is attributed to Robert Austin, a retired agricultural science teacher in Raymondville, Texas. Raymondville is about an hour's drive north of the Mexican border with Texas. It is in the Rio Grande Valley.

Robert Austin was a teacher of Hector Leija. Staff Sgt. Hector Leija. Sound familiar? He is the American hero of whom the New York Times felt compelled by their own political agenda to publish graphic images of his death, complete with front page story and even a video for their web site a week ago. Rather than show respect for a grieving family and an American soldier, it's all about Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Well, the Leija family was understandably upset at the blatant use of their son's death in battle for a political agenda of a newspaper. The newspaper did issue an apology to the family, after public outcry and statements made on behalf of the greiving family became known.

Staff Sgt. Leija was 27 years old. He was buried Monday afternoon in Raymondville. The staff and students from a Head Start program in town lined the road in front of their school as the funeral procession passed. They held posters proclaiming Hector as their hero. Raymondville is a town of 9737, a town struggling to make the move from agriculture to more of a business environment. Hector had the opportunity to go to college and expressed a desire to do so, but enlisted to serve his country first. As he continued in service, he is said to have enjoyed his leadership role and felt a calling to protect his country. "with Hector it was a desire to serve. I know that sounds corny, but he really wanted to be in the Army," said Jim Scarborough, a former counselor at the high school.

Leija was known as a hard worker and his parents, Domingo and Manuela, are credited with instilling discipline and respect in Hector and his three brothers. Manuela was involved in the boys' education and received an award for her volunteer work at the high school. The Mayor of Raymondville, Orlando Correa is a former counselor at the high school. He said he overheard a family member repeat Hector's reply as he was asked why we chose a dangerous profession: "He said, 'If not me, who? If I don't go, who's to go in my place?'"

Shame on the New York Times. Shame on ingrates like the Washington Post and NBC contributer (Military Analyist, self described) William Arkin. Shame on John Kerry. Shame on Russ Feingold who is introducing legislation to not fund the surge to allow the Army to do its job, previously denied to them in these politically correct times.

Thank you, Staff Sgt Leija.


Beverly said...

A wonderful tribute to a young man, his parents, and his community. The teacher said it well, "We need more Hectors."

srp said...

Rest in peace, Hector.

I am afraid that there is no shame left in or around those you mentioned. They don't recognize the damage they do, nor do they care. We have a group of soulless people on the far left.

Janie said...

Thanks for telling Hector's story, Karen.

colleen said...

This is heartbreaking. For me it's like 9/11 is rubbed in my face everyday when I see the faces of those who are dying now in Iraq, soldiers and civilians, for what I believe was a reckless foreign policy that could have been avoided.