News Editor Cat Hewett: Lasting impressions

Band of Brothers — Nine members of the 1-116th Infantry Battalion pose after an interview with the Liberty Champion in July.

My articles about the men of the 1-116th Infantry Battalion have not been earth-shattering. They probably will not propel me to the height of the journalistic world or qualify me to win a Pulitzer Prize, but they are probably the most important articles I have ever written.

When I was presented with the chance to interview soldiers in Iraq, I am sad to say, I was less than thrilled. I had just gotten home from my internship and the only thing on my mind was rest. I am glad to say that I quickly got over it and I cannot imagine what my last semester at Liberty University would have been like without that static-filled and very long distance phone call.

Because of that interview, I have met eight of the greatest men our country has to offer. They are fathers, brothers, sons, boyfriends and students, and they are willing to put their lives on the line for millions of people they have never met.

While interviewing these men one of the things that struck me was how easy it was to forget they were more than ordinary. They sat and talked with me about their families and friends, their classes and their lives. Only then did they mention why they had joined the army and their deployment in Iraq this year. Then they would talk about driving in convoys and operating machine guns, before going back and talking about how they have way too much reading for their classes or how their basement needs repairs.

The people passing by did not realize that there was anything special about the men with whom I was sitting. Only the few people who were sitting close enough to overhear our conversation would know that there was something more going on and they would stare. It is hard not to stare when discovering the person sitting next to you in the computer lab, bus or classroom is more than what appears on the surface. I even found it hard not to stare at times, and I have interviewed hundreds of people.

I guess the moral of my story is that heroes can come from any place. Like Moses or Paul, the most ordinary people can become extraordinary. It just comes down to the choices they make. The heroes I met this semester look like average people, but they have done extraordinary things most people have never imagined.

I have set forth the stories of these men as faithfully and unaltered as I could. The stories are simple and are for the most part straight from their lips. I have carried this mission with me during the entire semester and hope that I have passed on a little of my fire.

SGT Jonathan Born, SGT David Porter, SPC Curtis Davis, SPC Jocelyn Fenelus, SPC Gabriel Homer, SPC Nathan McMurray, SPC Mitch Roberson and SPC Ryan Sweatt: Thank you for letting me take a glimpse into your lives and thank you for your service. Thank you for being our country’s heroes. I will be forever grateful for the gift you have given me.

Look for more Life, Liberty and the Pursuit next semester with Web Content Editor Omar Adams.

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