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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2013/ 5 Kislev, 5774

Two brothers, two heroes

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We don't spend much time examining the underpinnings on which our lives rest. We remember the cops and firefighters and EMTs when we need them -- and when we need them, we really need them -- but otherwise, we've got things to do, or think about doing, or get out of doing. We may volunteer to do some work for our church or political party or civic club. Or maybe not. We may vote, or not.

We sit in classrooms listening to another lecture. Or maybe even giving one. We take the kids to school on the way to work. Or climb in the truck for another day at the construction site. We stay busy or, what's much harder, try to look busy. We go on about our business or tend to everybody else's, whatever's our pleasure in a free country.

We sit in comfortable, well-lit offices and add rows of figures, or go to sales meetings. Maybe we worry about the stock market, or just wonder how our team will do next weekend. Some of us make a full-time job of feeling sorry for ourselves; others are too busy helping folks, bless them.

Maybe once a year, on Veterans Day, we may see the pictures in the paper about graveyard ceremonies, and a president lays a wreath. For most of us, thank God, it's all pretty abstract. Because somebody else is doing the fighting and dying so we can stick to our routines. Peace, freedom security ... it's a great thing when they're routine. And can be taken for granted with pat phrases like "Thank you for your service."

Afghanistan, Iraq, they're far away. There used to be a phrase in the editorial-writing business, Afghanistanism, to sum up the kind of opinion piece about some far-away place or abstract idea ("Whither NATO?") that was sure to bore readers. Thumbsuckers, they were called in the trade.

You don't hear references to Afghanistanism anymore. Because these days Afghanistan has become all too close to our lives, all too real. It's no longer some remote abstraction. But most of us still don't spend much time thinking about it -- till we have to. Then on some weekday morning a headline in the Arkansas section catches our eye: "Family suffers death of second brother in Afghanistan violence."

His name was Benjamin Wise, a graduate of West Side Christian School in El Dorado. Age 34, Sgt. First Class Wise died last year at a military hospital in Germany of wounds received when his outfit ran into small-arms fire somewhere in Balkh Province. He was a medic himself, and had volunteered for the Special Forces back in 2005.

He'd joined the Army as an infantryman in November of 2000 and had served in Iraq, twice. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan. He left behind a 2-year-old son, 12-year-old stepson and 10-year-old stepdaughter.

He had come home in 2009 for a funeral -- that of his brother Jeremy, who'd served as part of a Navy SEAL team till he left the service, then signed on as a defense contractor. He, another security contractor and five CIA men were all killed when a suicide bomber made it into their post at Khost. Jeremy was 35 years old. A graduate of Hendrix College, he had made it through two years of medical school before deciding to join the Navy.

. . .

It had taken Benjamin Wise a while to find his calling. After high school, he'd gone off to Bible college in Florida, then to Hendrix, a small liberal-arts school here in Arkansas. For a time a time, and worked at a restaurant in Little Rock before enlisting.

Call it a military family. A third brother, Matthew, called Beau, would join the Marines.

Benjamin Wise's sister recalled that while Jeremy would just "explode into a room," Ben was "the kind of guy who was in the periphery. He'd throw in his two cents in a more quiet way, and people would just be in stitches." Just like a younger brother.

A staff sergeant who served with him in Afghanistan says Ben Wise appointed himself sergeant in charge of "morale." Which meant he cheered everybody else up. "If he saw someone who was having a bad day," the staff sergeant recalled, "he would offer them a hug. He was always there to lift someone's spirits...." Every outfit has one, or ought to.

Benjamin Wise was where he wanted to be. He'd been assigned to a desk job for a while, but wasn't happy about it, according to his sister. "He wanted to be back in combat."

The Wise family, like the country, is in it for the duration. Just as what's now called the Greatest Generation was. The idea of Fortress America, an America safe in its isolation, shielded by its distance from a turbulent world being wracked by fanatical creeds, died December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Or should have.

Back then the threat was fascism and we were engaged in a world war. Then came the long twilight struggle that was the hot and cold war with communism.

Now it's a different kind of war and a different kind of enemy. But, as we were told from Day One, which was September 11, 2001, this struggle is going to be as long. We can't wish it away, or just withdraw from the world. That's a sure way to invite another surprise attack. Which is why, once again, Americans are fighting in places we hardly know, but know are dangerous.

Reading about men like these two brothers, and the kind of families they spring from, I've wondered from time to time, usually while reading accounts of their deeds and dedication, where America keeps getting such men. Generation after generation. The answer should be clear by now: They come from places like El Dorado, Ark., and families like the Wises.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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