John Kulick was already risking his life serving the public when he volunteered to serve in Iraq. He was a fireman for the Centre Square Fire Dept., Whitpain Township.
A member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, of the famed 28th Infantry Division, a unit that can trace its origin to the Revolutionary War.
When Kulick volunteered, he did so knowing that there were sacrifices he would make. Yet, he did not complain.
I first became aware of him from an article in the Ambler Gazette, which mentioned he was not receiving the difference in pay from his military salary to his fire department salary. My oldest daughter and I circulated a petition, enthusiastically signed by Blue Bell residents, requesting that this inequity be adjusted. The Whitpain Township council corrected it.
John Kulick exemplified the ordinary American who does extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances. He and his colleagues are doing an exemplary task in Iraq. They expose themselves to great risk to prevent innocent civilians from being killed or wounded. They are suffering casualties because of it. Yet, they do so willingly.
Kulick did not go to Iraq for lust of conquest. He went to liberate.
Kulick did not fight for despotism. He fought for democracy.
On August 4, Kulick sent me an email in which he said, “I think that the world is a much better place without Saddam. Someone needs to be the police in this world and the only superpower is us (sic). The 1800 soldiers did not die in vain (sic), and the war was justified. People don't know the true stories of the horror the Iraq people endured under Saddam and the Ba'athist party. It's sad but I think the American people forget their feeling's they had after 911.”
Kulick believed in what he was doing and because of him those enslaved by the Baathists are no longer enslaved. Kulick protected those who cannot protect themselves.
For each generation of Americans, there are the brave and the young who are called to go forth and vanquish freedom's foes. These are the people that our society delegates as guarantors of our independence. They are emblematic of those to whom Thomas Paine referred when he wrote, “O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!”
Kulick and his brethren are the foes of terrorists. They are the intrepid soldiers, dutiful and resolute.
The ancient Romans’ model of the virtuous citizen was Cincinnatus. In 458 B.C., Cincinnatus was tending his fields when word arrived that he had been selected to defend the city against two hostile tribes. Cincinnatus took command and within sixteen days he defeated Rome's enemies and returned to his farm - just as John Kulick would have return to the Centre Square Fire Department.
For the ancient Romans it was Cincinnatus, for ancient Sparta it was Leonidas, for the residents of Whitpain Township it is John Kulick. A man so noble, ‘the elements mixed in him so that nature may say to all the world, “This was a man!”
Indeed, we are fortunate to have such men among us. We, as a society, need to ask ourselves - where do we find such men as Kulick? Where do they come from these selfless men – these noble men? What kind of society have we created that spawns such men as he? More importantly, are we worthy of the John Kulicks among us?
The Taliban, the al-Qaeda, the Baathists, and the rest want to return to the days of an Arab empire – much like Mussolini wanted to return to the days of the Roman Empire. It is written in their mission statements and proclaimed in their speeches. They are the new master race.
It is because of Kulick and his cohorts that they will not succeed.
I received another email from Kulick. It was sent August 9. He wrote, “[W]e lost two good friends from our unit Saturday. It is devastating. Their memorial will be held tomorrow. It really hits home. We are only less than 90 days out to go home. I will let you know when I am scheduled to leave to go to Ft. Dix.”
Several hours later Specialist John Kulick, of the 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, 28 Division was killed in action.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “We have given you a republic — if you can keep it.” Because of John Kulick, and others like him, our republic will be preserved.
Kulick is truly deserving of the motto of Cincinnatus, “Omnia relinquit servare Republicam.” He gave everything to the Republic.