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Posted by on Oct 30, 2008 in Gravitas, Media, Military | 3 comments

Friday Mornings at the Pentagon

McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend and former
roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a
year long tour of Duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here’s Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Web log of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

‘It is 110 yards from the ‘E’ ring to the ‘A’ ring of the Pentagon.
This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the
entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants
and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’ hallway. The G3
offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. ’10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway. ‘A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

‘Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I
described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden … yet.

‘Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the
wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I
think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is pushed by, believe, a full colonel.

‘Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

’11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway – 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, And perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

‘There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride
pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite
understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men and women, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers and sisters, and we welcome them home.. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

‘Did you know that? The media hasn’t yet told the story.’

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  1. which media sites can I write to request or demand they investigate this event to ascertain if it is true or not. If so,what are the; who, what, why, when, how’s of this event.
    I will await your answer.
    Just an old marine,
    Phil Macklin

  2. I have no idea. As the by-line states, the article is from McClatchy, so start there.

  3. I have known about this Friday morning event for some time thanks to friends still on active duty. It is sad that the American press, USA’s version of Pravda, and the talking morons of the major TV channels hate America so much that they have failed to inform our public of this practice. This event is to honor our troops who have given so much on the field of battle. I guess if the media supported America millions of others would have be so informed. The media spent 8 years attacking George W Bush every day, yes I said every day, because they hate him for winning the 2000 election and they went ballistic when he won 2004.

    The democraps joined the media in their daily attacks which were blown out of proportion by the democrap controlled media. By the time 2008 came around they had accused Bush of everything including Hurricane Katrina. These daily attacks succeeded in getting a Marxist Socialist who can not even prove his American citizenship elected as president. Thus the media and the democraps have done what foreign powers and numerous wars could not do. That is cause the social and economic destruction of the United States. As in World War II many major news outlets are Anti American and those same groups are active today. It is time to remove from office those who support this Marxist president and to stop all support of the Anti American press. The 3 major television companies and the CNN (Commie News Network) need public support to exist. As we all know the viewer ship has dropped in recent years. The best thing that can happen is stop watching these broadcasters and stop buying the NY times, Boston Globe, LA Times, Washington POST and other papers published by traitors.

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