Since Apr 11, 1999
By Alfonso Ussia
Manuel Martín-Oar, captain in the Spanish Navy, died in Iraq.
One line sums up the entire tragedy. He escaped alive from the terrorist attack on the United Nations headquarters and was found dead in a dirty, run-down temporary morgue. He has gone to his rest with honor, that lofty and sacred thing no longer valued in our time. The politicians have declared their regret and respect, with the usual abstentions. The grubby minds of Llamazares and Anasagasti [Basque Marxist separatists] have tried to take advantage of the death of a Spanish sailor to stir up the muddy waters of partisanship: Llamazares and Anasagasti, of all people, two who have trumpeted their disgust and contempt for our armed forces. I have had the good luck to know the Spanish Navy well. A great Navy man introduced me to them. And I felt the death of Manuel Martín-Oar as the death of someone very close to me. The people who are attempting to take advantage of his death for their own benefit, those who are trying to use the body of a hero for their demagoguery, those who are trying to stir up civil society with the first Spanish soldier to die in Iraq, are going to find that they have run up against a brick wall. The women and children of the Navy are as much a part of it as their sailors, and accept the risks and the fate of their loved ones with the same sense of vocation and dedication. They are reserved even in their display of grief. No weeping and wailing of false mourners. Good soldiers know that they are gambling with their lives; even on a mission of peace, as in the case of Capt. Martín-Oar. And they also know that if they die they will be received with the solemn grandeur of silence. Military men do their duty because they know that their families know how to deal with grief. They live surrounded by women, children and parents who support them and are with them in each and every one of the places that their lives take them. They are the great lords of the sea, who have grown used to sailing beyond all horizons and better than we are for it. But they are also their families, and if death touches them, they are still with us in the serene and courageous attitude of their families, and never die. The sun has set in the West for a Spanish sailor. Never again will he see it rise in the lonely dawns of the sea. His fate awaited him on earth, in a violent and turbulent city, when he was on a mission of mercy to those who were suffering. He has given his life for humanity far from Spain, and he shall return to his country sleeping and at rest, to become clay of its clay while he awaits the great day of hope, that day that they say will be full of unbelievable light and seas that are always blue. He died in the desert, which was not his place. But heroes always make their tomb a place of honor. He has taken his place again and is back with us. Wicked is the man who does not respect Capt. Martín-Oars greatness or the strength of his loved ones. Yet some of the wicked have already emerged, and others will follow their unworthy and deceitful lead. They will never understand soldiers, whether of the sea, the land or the air. The integrity of soldiers is beyond the understanding of the poisoned and corrupt minds of thugs. The surrender of ones life and dignity in death, that is, heroism, is an indecipherable hieroglyphic for those who have never respected the soul of soldiers. The Virgin of Carmen has opened her arms over Iraq to shelter one of her children in this first loneliness. And the Star of the Sea has brought a Spanish sailor from Iraq to his homeland. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Spanish naval officer was killed in the UN bombing. He was brought out of the building alive and evacuated to a field hospital, where he died of loss of blood and head injuries. This is the first Spanish military man to be killed in Iraq. Naturally, the press there - with the exception of the conservative newspaper ABC - is acting just the way the press here does, trying to use it to undermine their country's presence in Iraq. I translated this and am posting it because I thought that it was a very beautiful tribute to this particular fallen soldier and to all of those who have lost their lives doing what was right. Posted on 08/23/2003 5:57 AM CDT by livius
The enemy has overrun us. We are blowing up everything. Vive la France!"