Sunday, July 13, 2008

Real Community Leadership in Lawrence MA

[OK, slightly off-topic, but please bear with us.]

A 14-month vigil for Army Sgt Alex R. Jimenez (above), of Lawrence MA, missing in action in Iraq along with Private Brian W. Fouty of Waterford MI, concluded this week when Iraqi authorities found their bodies, which were positively identified. We offer both families our sincere condolences and best wishes in the difficult days ahead.

Although our national foreign policy objectives are a federal matter, we note that the civilian political leadership of their community has been supporting the Jimenez family throughout their ordeal.
LAWRENCE - The body of Alex R. Jimenez, a Lawrence soldier who was kidnapped by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists more than a year ago, has been found in Iraq in a tragic ending to a family's desperate hope for his return.

Jimenez's father, Ramon "Andy" Jimenez, was notified by the Army yesterday that his son's body was found two days ago by Iraqi authorities, who contacted their American counterparts. He was identified by dental records. The body of a comrade who went missing at the same time was also found.

The elder Jimenez, often rubbing his moist eyes, had held out hope that he would one day see his son's return. But last night he seemed to come to terms with the news.

"It comforts you when you accept something, and Alex did what he wanted to do," said Andy Jimenez, who was joined yesterday by friends, family, and a community of supporters who had rallied around him since Alex Jimenez first went missing on May 12, 2007. [ . . . ]

Yesterday, a community that had embraced the Jimenez family continued to support the father. An American flag hung from his home near a sign that read, "Until they are home."

"Hopefully we can just be here for them in anything that they need," said City Councilor Grisel Silva, who represents the district where the family lives. She was visiting with the family last night.

"It's very sad, it's hitting us very closely," she said. "The community has strongly been very involved with the Jimenez family in this situation. The good thing is now they'll be able to have some closure."

Jim Wareing, of the New England Caring for Our Military, a family support group, said the agency set up a meeting of the Jimenez and Fouty families with President Bush on Memorial Day to show support. Several of the soldiers who served with their sons also spoke with the families in an arranged telephone call. [ . . . ]
OYE Comment:

We thank the civilian political leadership nationwide, at all levels of government, for supporting real Americans in harm's way, and their families. We note with appreciation their recognition of the responsibilities of different levels of government and their focus on serving their communities. True leadership means supporting real people in bad times as well as good.


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