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Commending Navy-ND reaction

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, November 17, 2005

Peter Schroeder’s column about the Notre Dame vs. Navy game was both eloquent and moving as well as “dead on” in my humble opinion. It was an incredibly well-written piece, and it is patently obvious that he is an English literature major! (Go Notre Dame professors!) Thank you so much. Schroeder, for writing it, and for all the kind words about the Navy – especially that “Navy has bigger fish to fry. We may claim that we must protect this house, but Navy must protect something way bigger.” They surely do. My brother and father are Notre Dame graduates, and I knew the Notre Dame fight song before I could walk. That same brother is also a F-18 fighter pilot for the Navy and has done several fly-overs for football games at Notre Dame – nothing has given him greater joy. I myself am an Army spouse – my husband is an Army JAG attending the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He enlisted in the Army as a paratrooper at Ft. Bragg, N.C. at age 18 and later put himself through college on the GI Bill, went to law school and then “re-uped” as an officer. I am so very proud of both of them, not only for their military service but for the honorable, kind, brilliant men that they are. I am honored to be their sister and wife (respectively).

It is so nice to realize that others outside of our military family understand and appreciate the sacrifice that so many young men and women – and those of us not so young anymore – are making on behalf of our country and for the greater good. I am not certain that all Americans see it that way, and it saddens me. The men and women of the armed forces ask nothing from the general public – and yet they deserve far more. Yes, they collect a paycheck, but believe me, the paycheck is not what it is all about – more could be had elsewhere and, unquestionably, there are not too many of us willing to lay our lives on the line for folks that we do not know and will never meet, no matter how much someone wants to pay us. Thus, columns such as yours give a big shot in the arm to those in the military and the military spouses that support our loved ones in uniform to allow them to serve and protect our country and its citizens. Your column hopefully will compel your readers to take a moment to realize what really matters in life and to reflect upon the daily and often unrecorded acts of selflessness that our men and women in uniform conduct on behalf of us all. For in the end, as Schroeder so wisely reminds us, football is merely a game (I have to remind my husband, a rabid Arizona State alum, of this all the time). It is not life. So thank you. The future is bright with young men like Schroeder being ready and willing to let folks know that, even for Notre Dame football, winning cannot be the only goal – it truly is far more important how we play the game and that we are fortunate – and free enough – to play at all.

Erin SwansigerFort Leavenworth, Kan.Nov. 16