No doubt in some circles Donald Rumsfeld will only be remembered for making some needed changes in the Pentagon, or for making some mistakes in the war. Such remembrance will not be worthy of the man.
I will always remember him as the manly presence and voice of our just response in deep crisis. By his obvious integrity, swift action, and then rugged endurance, he fulfilled all the obligations of heroism. His swashbuckling charisma helped. Both young men and women watched in awe this former fighter jock, with crooked legs and all, amble his old body first to pick up human pieces outside the hit building and then to respond lyrically to the prosaic media who represented another form of attack. During one of those press conferences
I heard a father lean over to his son and say, "Look you, this is a man at work. Mark it. You may not see it again."
This old man, this old prize fighter, this old jock, this minister of war, this archetypal American, dispatched great menace upon the enemy. He threw our best at them. And he kept throwing. And he called it by the right name of war as he reminded us why civilization is better than barbarism, and why it is worth defending. Not bad from a craftsman of war.
His graceful disdain for the base factions who habitually called for head was a poetic response of a man who knew his duty. His statesmanship was deeply appreciated by his fellow citizens. His conduct has been splendid. He has inspired all us ordinary men to extend ourselves beyong the petty and the routine. This old body and heart and mind walking away from the arena has reminded us of human greatness and excellence. And I thank him.