Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Leroy returns home

This article was published by the Associated Press on July 19

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry has returned home to Washington state, a week after President Barack Obama presented him with the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

Petry told reporters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle on Tuesday that he and his family received a warm welcome in their neighborhood in Steilacoom when they arrived Monday night. Children made banners and cheered for them.

Petry says he’s eager to get back to his day job working with injured Special Forces members and their families.

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry walks past a display about his Medal of Honor award as he heads to a news conference Tuesday at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Songs for our troops

Today, I had a conversation with Miguel Estrada, a Panamanian immigrant. He came to the United States 30 years ago with nothing more than a thumb to hitch a ride. He's now a retiree living in Minneapolis.

An amateur musician, Miguel said he was inspired to write songs about his adopted homeland as a show of gratitude to the American people, who opened their hearts and arms to him. He said he would like to share his music with "our brave men and women that go overseas to fight for our freedom."

I reached out to Miguel after reading his response to a blog post about my cousin, Sgt. Leroy A. Petry. When I talked to him on the phone, he talked about how much America means to him and he became emotional when talking about my cousin's service. I was moved to share his music on this blog.

Miguel sent me two of his songs. The first, "We Are America" — written days after 9/11 — was recorded by professional musicians. Miguel is the vocalist on the second selection, "My Hero," which he wrote in tribute to Pat Tillman, an Army Ranger and former professional football player who died while fighting in Afghanistan.

Thank you, Miguel, for your recognition of our troops.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

NBC links

Leroy sat down with NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams" for an interview that ran Tuesday night, after the ceremony at the White House. Although Leroy's appearance on "The Daily Show" has been the most entertaining, the Williams interview is so far the most meaningful and informative.

Here's some other links from NBC News:

Thank you, NBC.  Great reporting.

At the ballgame

This Associated Press story moved on the wires July 16

NEW YORK — The New York Mets saluted Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who was recently awarded a Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama.

Petry received the nation’s highest military honor Tuesday in a ceremony at the White House for his brave actions in Afghanistan to protect comrades in the 2008 firefight that cost him his right hand. He was at Citi Field with his family Saturday to see New York play the Philadelphia Phillies, invited by the Mets.

Dressed in full uniform, Petry had a chance to meet Mets players in the clubhouse after batting practice. He said he was excited to attend the game with his family, and he thought it was his son’s first trip to a professional ballgame.

Sitting in the front row right next to the Phillies’ on-deck circle, Petry was introduced to the crowd after the third inning and received a standing ovation as he waved his left hand.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, currently on the disabled list, walked over and presented Petry with a boxed American flag that had flown over Citi Field. Reyes also shook hands with Petry and his family.

“The Congressional Medal of Honor is the best medal you can get,” said Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese, who applauded on the mound before throwing his fourth-inning warmups. “They go out there and do a heck of a lot more than we can imagine.”

Medal of Honor recipient Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry looks up from his seat as the New York Mets honor him after the third inning of a baseball between the Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, July 16, at Citi Field in New York. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back home (for some of us)

The Petry family is back home in New Mexico after an enlighting and exhausting trip to Washington, D.C. A big thanks goes out to the U.S. Army and my cousin's fellow Rangers for doing what they do to preserve our freedoms. My cousin may have received the Medal of Honor, but I met so many people this weekend that are also hereos. Thank you.

My cousin Leroy and his family left for New York on Thursday morning. My cousin did the "The Daily Show" on Thursday night. Also, check out his extended interview with Jon Stewart. It's quite entertaining. Friday morning, my cousin and his wife appeared on the "Today" show and the whole family (Leroy, Ashley, Austin, Reagan and Landon) got a chance to talk on "Fox & Friends."

Friday night, my cousin is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the New York Mets game. A family member told me that his son Austin would be the one actually throwing the pitch. I'll try to find a picture and post later. I'm not sure how many more media and Army obligations my cousin has lined up, but I hope he soon gets to go back home to Washington (state) and have a week to himself when he can hit the links with friends, play "Call of Duty" with Landon and just recharge the batteries in his prostheses and his life.

Photo of the Day

This photo of President Obama hugging my grandma, Bertha Petry, was the Photo of the Day on the White House website on Wednesday. Pictured behind the president, to the left, are my cousin Leroy Petry and his dad, Larry Petry. My grandma is 80 years old and I'm so proud of her for having the strength and courage to get on that plane to Washington, D.C. and attend every event she could in support of my cousin. Love you Grandma!