Friday, December 28, 2012

A Passing General and a Parade

Yesterday, a good man and one fine soldier died.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf has died at the age of 78. Commander of the American led coalition which destroyed the Iraqi forces after their invasion of Kuwait in 1991, Schwarzkopf designed a decisive plan which worked to perfection, and resulted in a low casualty count.

In total, 148 Americans were killed in battle, 145 were killed in non-battle conditions and 467 were wounded. The total casualties were 760...for the entire three weeks of war. The General knew his adversary, Saddam Hussein. He was no match for the West Point graduate and native of New Jersey, I might add.

On June 10, 1991, New York City held a ticker-tape parade for the returning men and women who served in the Gulf War, General Schwarzkopf was among them. I was lucky enough to be living in New York City at the time and spent the day both attending the parade, and buying beers for the soldiers. The pride in their mission was evident, but what struck me the most was the gratitude they had towards the American people.  Gratitude that they, unlike their Vietnam era brothers, were welcomed back as the heroes they were.

We bought t-shirts off the vendors and had them signed by some of the soldiers. The adrenaline racing through their bodies was intense, but it could hardly be close to what they felt like during the war. It was my first ticker-tape parade and the atmosphere was more than electric. It was the best welcome home party you could ever imagine. And it was led by the man who was the reason for it all.

Thank you General. Easy journey.


  1. I admired him for his honesty and his candor. He also seemed to be confortable with who and what he was. Those kinds of men make amazing leaders.

    great story

  2. He listened to Pavarotti, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, loved to fish and watch ballet. So yeah, I guess he was comfortable with who he was. Thanks.