Sunday, November 14, 2004


From Hugh Hewitt. Story of Lieutenant Joshua Michael Palmer reflects a great life and makes me proud to be American.

Yesterday I broadcast from the Manchester Theater at the University of San Diego. In the course of the program, I received this e-mail:

Hugh, because it is the Marine Corps birthday today, and because I heard that you are broadcasting live from USD, I wanted to let you know that USD lost one of its alumni on April 8th of this year, in Fallujah. His name was 1st Lt. Joshua Palmer. It would be great if you could somehow remind the students that they've lost one of their own over there, especially today, and especially before veterans day. Josh loved USD. He graduated just a year before going to Iraq, and still has a lot of friends on campus. In fact, he was president of the College Republicans there. Thanks,

Josh's girlfriend,

I read the e-mail on air, and asked Laura's permission to post it. She agreed, and also sent along a copy of the remarks given at Lieutenant Palmer's memorial service:
On April 8th, in the afternoon, Josh’s convoy began taking sniper fire as they entered Fallujah. Josh was a first lieutenant, and led a group of men. Some of the men in the convoy, from another lieutenant’s unit, were injured by the sniper fire. It was determined that someone needed to hunt down the snipers and kill them, before they killed any of the men in the convoy. Josh had been trained in sniper hunting, and volunteered. He led a small group of men into the area where the snipers were. They pinpointed the snipers’ location and ran to the building were the snipers were located. Josh didn’t hesitate, he just ran. When they got there, they began clearing rooms with grenades. When they got to the room where the snipers were, Josh insisted on being in front. Usually officers stay in the back, because their lives are considered more valuable. But Josh had always said that he would never send his men somewhere he wouldn’t go himself, and the test of a true leader was whether or not he led from the front. It was known that there was a very high chance that the person in front would be shot, as they were so close to the snipers, and the snipers were waiting for them. Josh still went in front. He probably knew that he was going to be shot, but he wouldn’t allow someone else to die when he could have prevented it. So he leaned forward and threw the grenade. As he did, he fell a little bit forward, and was shot many times all up his left side and into his neck. Immediately his men pulled him back, and killed the sniper who had shot Josh, the other two snipers were taken prisoner. They pulled Josh to a safe location, where he eventually bled to death. The photo I have, which many of you have seen in the papers, is of Josh’s men praying over him, just after he died.

It is important to know that the snipers, when the US soldiers got there, were strapped with C-4, a very dangerous explosive. They were cowards and monsters. They had enough to blow up the entire city block. It was a civilian block, and many innocent people would have been killed. Josh died protecting other people, the same as the way he had lived. Somehow, it doesn’t seem real that someone like him existed here, someone with such high ideals and such brave determination. Josh’s captain, Captain Smith, said that Josh was an unreal soldier, that he’d never met someone so strong in his convictions and so devoted to a cause. We are left to wonder why it is so often those that are so great, that live with such nobility, are the ones to die. The answer is that, because of their nobility and greatness, they are the first to volunteer. It is often the better people who end up giving their lives for others. My cousin Laura, Josh’s girlfriend, said that she knew something like this would probably happen, because Josh was the type of person who would volunteer his life, if he thought it would help someone else. These are our heroes, the men and women who believe in the greatness of our country, and want to share that greatness with the world, so much so that they are willing to give their lives, on the small chance that some other poor, underdeveloped country will have freedom like ours I want everyone to know how much I love Josh, and how proud I am of him and the type of man he is. And that, because I love him, and I know how important these ideals are to him, I would do the whole thing again, because I knows that, even if Josh were told that he would die in Iraq, he would have gone anyway, because he believes it is that important. God bless our troops, and God bless America." (full post)

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