Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Jewish warrior falls in defense of our Country..
Marine Felt Calling After 9/11 Attacks By Leef Smith Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, September 12, 2006; Page B02 Colin Wolfe was in sixth grade, fixated on girls, sports and the challenges of being a preteen, when a group of Marines visited his Manassas elementary school. He returned to his Manassas home that afternoon with their presentation swimming in his head. Perhaps, he told his parents, he might enlist one day. Wolfe, 19, of Manassas was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral. It was just childhood talk, his parents reasoned. Their son was a skilled ballet dancer, performing since childhood with a local dance company, and he had smarts. Perhaps he would go to college. Then came Sept. 11, 2001. Wolfe was 14 when the twin towers fell, and like so many, he watched in horror as the Pentagon burned on cable news channels. He was just a boy, but the call to action that he felt struck deep. In the years that followed, he collected articles depicting the attacks and search for Osama bin Laden. He talked with friends and family about the war on terror and visited the Pentagon and Ground Zero in New York. And when he graduated from Osbourn High School in Manassas last year, he did the one thing he felt in his heart that was right: He enlisted in the Marines, ready to fight."Like a lot of kids, he had a sense of wanting to serve his country, but 9/11 crystallized that in him," said Mark Wolfe, his father. Pfc. Colin J. Wolfe, 19, was deployed to Iraq in July. He was killed Aug. 30 in Anbar province, when the Humvee in which he was riding struck a roadside bomb.Yesterday, family and friends gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the slain Marine. His parents picked Sept. 11 for the burial, believing it to be a fitting tribute to a young man who gave his life for his country in Iraq. "He knew what he was fighting for and what he was all about," Mark Wolfe said. "He believed he was serving the country, protecting the country. He had made his choice." Colin was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and was posthumously promoted to lance corporal. Hundreds of mourners -- among them Virginia Sens. George Allen (R) and John W. Warner (R) as well as Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) -- gathered at the graveside under a threatening, gray sky.Wolfe, 19, of Manassas was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. They listened as a bugler played taps, the instrument's echoes fading softly across the field of grass and gravestones. They watched spellbound as six marines folded the American flag draped over Wolfe's coffin with precision.The motorcade to the cemetery -- one of the largest for a casualty of the Iraq war, according to cemetery officials -- was led by a small police escort.Family members said Wolfe wasn't planning a career in the military. He just felt he had a job to do -- and not as an officer, either. Wolfe's father said he wanted to be on the front lines, doing the real work, he said.Mark Wolfe said his son's battalion has lost six Marines in the past few weeks, a heavy toll that drives home the danger of their jobs."People in the general public don't realize how hard they fight and how many risks they take," Mark Wolfe said. "It's war." But Colin Wolfe knew it was war. He looked on the conflict in Iraq with the same gravity as he viewed World War II, his father said.Shortly after Colin graduated from high school, his family traveled to France, where they drove from Paris to Omaha Beach, the famous Normandy landing site during the allied invasion of World War II. They were there, Mark Wolfe said, to pay their respects.For Colin, who had just enlisted, it was "hallowed ground." He pointed out to family members headstones marked with the Star of David -- a symbol of Jewish heritage, like his own. Mark Wolfe said he last spoke with his son on Aug. 19. The phone conversation lasted 15 or 20 minutes, and Colin talked about the tedium of combat and how much the Iraqi children loved the Marines. His father said he stressed that the Iraqi soldiers were doing a good job, that they were to be trusted.The job might be progressing slowly, he told his father, but they were going to get it done. "We're winning," Colin said. "It's just going to take some time."