Thanksgiving in West "By God" Virginia
Concrete Bob Update: From the Man Himself

Donald R. McGlothlin

Thanks to Matt's post about Corporal Javier Perez, and the magic of the Google machine, I learned a bit more about one of the Marines who died that day, and who Corporal Perez was trying to reach when he was injured.  His name is Donald R. McGlothlin and he had given up a scholarship to study Chemistry at Stanford in order to serve.  You can find more about him here.  And here's the transcript of a Wolf Blitzer program, starting with a few remarks by President Bush back in 2005 before moving onto an interview of McGlothlin's parents, that I'm putting up because I want to make sure it doesn't get lost.  The last comment by Mr. McGlothlin quite touching and apropos:

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: : One of these men was a marine lieutenant named Ryan McGlothlin from Lebanon, Virginia. Ryan was a bright young man who had everything going for him. And he always wanted to serve our nation.

He was a valedictorian of his high school class. He graduated from William and Mary with near perfect grade averages. And he was on a full scholarship at Stanford where he was working toward a doctorate in chemistry.

Two years after the attack on September 11, the young man had the world at his feet came home from Stanford for a visit. He told his dad, I just don't feel like I'm doing something that matters. I want to serve my country. I want to protect our land from terrorists so I joined the marines.

When his father asked him if there's some other way to serve, Ryan replied that he felt a special obligation to step up because he had been given so much.

Ryan didn't support me in the last election. But he supported our mission in Iraq. And he supported his fellow marines.

Ryan was killed last month fighting terrorists in Iraq's Syrian border. In his pocket was a poem that Ryan read at his high school graduation. It represented the spirit of this fine marine. The poem was called "Don't Quit."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Donald McGlothlin is Ryan's father, Ruth McGlothlin is Ryan's mother. They are joining us now from Bristol, Virginia. Our deepest condolences to both of you on the tragic loss of your son. Don, let me start with you.

Did you know the president was going to single him out today?

DONALD MCGLOTHLIN, RYAN'S FATHER: Yes, sir. We found out on Monday that his speech writers were considering using Ryan's story, and they first contacted Ruth, Ryan's mother, and then she and I discussed it. But we were fully apprised of not only the fact the president wished to use the story of what they expected the president to say in his speech.

BLITZER: Was that okay with you, Don?

D. MCGLOTHLIN: Well, we first had misgivings. We did not want our son's story to be used lightly or in a way that would be unseemly. But we discussed, in light of some recent correspondence that Ruth had received from our son, we actually received it after his death, we felt that it was important and that Ryan would want the American public to know what he told us in the letter.

It was pretty much what the president was saying here today, that we can't quit. And that we're doing -- that the marines over there and the Iraqi security forces are doing an excellent job. And that they are being well received by the Iraqi population.

As a matter of fact, our son said that they were very thankful when The Marines came to these cities. They were clearing out of the terrorists. They were not just terrorizing our troops, but also the Iraqi population.

BLITZER: Ruth, tell us a little bit about your son, Ryan.

RUTH MCGLOTHLIN, RYAN'S MOTHER: Ryan was wonderful young man. I think when I think of Ryan I see his smile. He had a smile that would light up the room. He had an incredible work ethic. He applied that to everything he ever did, which is why he did so well in high school. He did well in college.

He was Phi Beta Kappa at William and Mary. He then went on get his Phd at Stanford, but since his senior year at William and Mary he had been working to try to overcome a medical disqualification he had received in an ROTC program because he wanted to serve in the armed forces, And, in particular, he wanted to be a Marine.

So beginning with his senior year at William and Mary he spent the next three years getting that waiver taken care of so that he could be in the Marine Corps. And that's where he found what he loved.

BLITZER: Don, did you try to talk him out of this decision to leave Stanford and join the Marine Corps?

DONALD MCGLOTHLIN, RYAN'S FATHER: Well, you had to know Ryan, there wasn't -- once he made up his mind it was pretty well made up. And he had years of thought that he had given to being a military service member.

I did express my concerns about the fact he might be doing something that could get him killed or wounded in a way that would change his life. And he was fully aware of that.

So I asked him if there was some other way, some other way that he might be able to serve the country because that was what he wanted to do. And Ryan said, you know, that basically that he had been born into privilege, and that he felt that it was as much his burden being a privileged citizen to carry the burden of protecting our land and his fellow countrymen, as it was for anyone else who might be in the Marine Corps or in the military.

So he felt a special duty to go and help protect this country.

BLITZER: Even though, Ruth, he didn't -- the president said he didn't vote for the president in the last election. He did believe in this operation in Iraq, I take it. Tell us some of the things he said to you.

R. MCGLOTHLIN: Actually, I don't feel Ryan felt that when we first went to war that was the right place or the right time. And that's why we wanted to make sure that the White House understood that. He felt if we were going to go to war we should have been in Afghanistan, and I think he felt war should have been the last resort or last possible resort. And I'm not sure he felt that it was.

What he did feel that once we went there, and we tore down the government they did know, and disrupted their country, we had an obligation to fix what we had destroyed. And he very strongly believed in that.

D. MCGLOTHLIN: Wolf, in the letter that he wrote to his mother and asked her to give a copy to me, once he got there on the ground and was actually engaged in the clearing of these cities up in the Euphrates Valley near the Syrian border he also found another reason to be there. It wasn't just to protect his fellow countrymen.

And that was the fact he said that you had to see, in the letter he says, you just have to see these poor terrorized Iraqi citizens and how grateful they were when the Marines finally came to their cities to get rid of the terrorists.

And he said that the Iraqi citizens deserve to be free of the terrorists. And he talked about the hideous actions that they had taken against the Iraqi population.

So in his letter he said that his convictions were reaffirmed, and he believed more than ever that we needed to be there. And he also said that it would be -- that anyone who had seen what his Marines had seen and he had seen would never think of leaving the job left partly done. That we needed to be there until the Iraqi Army was able to take care of the security for their own population.

Not to do that was to ensure the persistence of terrorism and the fear that population and then later us would have.

BLITZER: Donald McGlothlin and Ruth McGlothlin, our deepest condolences. What a remarkable son you had. What a heroic patriot and good luck to both of you down the road.

D. MCGLOTHLIN: Could I say one last thing?

BLITZER: Of course.

D. MCGLOTHLIN: Could I say one last thing please? We would be remiss in not saying that Ryan would not want the attention that he is getting by the press. He was devoted to the Marines and there were four other Marines that died the day that Ryan died and 11 in his platoon that were wounded. Some of them very seriously. One lost a leg and lost a thumb.

Every man that was over there was there with the conviction that they were doing the right thing for our country. And those Marines and all their families need to be remembered, as well.

-- Uber Pig

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