By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Before his death Pfc. Ryan J. Hill had many titles: son, friend and brother-at-arms were just a few. After his death in 2007, the result of an attack on the Humvee he was driving in Iraq, he garnered more titles: hero, Bronze Star recipient, Purple Heart recipient and Combat Infantry Badge recipient.
At the dedication of a park in Hill’s memory in Keizer Station Friday, Nov. 8, Rep. Kurt Schrader added one more to the list: warrior-poet.
Schrader read a piece written by Hill before his death.:
“A soldier is a soldier all his life. He’s a magical creature. You kick him out of your house, but you can’t kick him out of your heart. You can take him off a mailing list, but not out of your mind. Soldiers are found everywhere. In love. In battle. In lust. In trouble. In debt. In bars. And sometimes behind them. No one can write so seldom, and yet think so much of you. No one else can get so much enjoyment out of a letter or clean clothes or a six-pack. A soldier is a genius with a deck of cards, a millionaire without a cent, and brave without a grain of sense. He is the protector of America. He might have the latest copy Playboy in his back pocket. If he wants something, it’s usually 30 days leave, music that hurts the ears, a five dollar bill, or a woman he can count on.”
Schrader said Hill’s words were a testament to the character of Hill and many of the men and women in military service.
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