"Are you Ramblings?"
I couldn't believe this young man actually spends his time reading my blog. Maybe he was a hit man, but I had a fierce five pound dog with me, so I fessed up.
"God bless your daughter."
He had read about my daughter being sent to Iraq and told me he had been there himself. His brother was going for the third time, volunteering to take the place of a fellow soldier whose wife just had a baby. He told me this very quietly, like it was nothing.
Self-absorbed person that I am, I forgot to thank this quiet hero until he was gone. Fortunately, the U.S. Congress is showing some of the gratitude that I should have displayed.
Better yet, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent (R Pa. 15) is one of them. He is among the 256 members of congress who voted yesterday to expand G.I. benefits for active-duty soldiers. He joins 32 House Republicans to restore educational assistance once extended to returning WWII vets.
This legislation has the support of left-leaning organizations like The American Legion.
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is concerned this measure might hurt military retention because benefits accrue after only three years of service, but American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser counters this will actually lead to an increase in recruitment.
President Bush has also belly-ached that the $2 billion per year cost is too expensive, but Commander Conatser has an answer for that, too. "Visit Walter Reed. War is expensive indeed and the bulk of that cost is paid for by the men and women who wear the uniform. Benefits are just a small, small cost of war."
Of the eight Republican members of the Pennsylvania House delegation, Dent is joined by Philip English (R Pa 3), Timothy Murphy (R Pa 18) and Todd Platts (R Pa 19) in voting for the soldiers instead of their party.