Release of Marine took too long to achieve

Veterans Day is Nov. 11 and I would like to encourage all Ocean County residents to join with the entire Board of Freeholders in remembering the brave men and women who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

While we remember and honor all veterans, let us say a special thank you to decorated Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who was finally released from a Mexican jail after more than eight months.

Sgt. Tahmooressi was in southern California for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder when he made a wrong turn toward the Mexican border on March 31. Even though he immediately disclosed to Mexican officials that he was carrying three firearms in his vehicle — all legally purchased and registered in the United States — Sgt. Tahmooressi was arrested.

Months ago our freeholders unanimously passed a resolution calling on President Obama to work with Mexican officials to secure the release of this veteran who served two combat tours in Afghanistan.

Yet for 32 long weeks, Sgt. Tahmooressi languished next to drug lords and murderers, forgotten by his commander-in-chief. As the months passed, nearly 100 members of Congress and hundreds of thousands of Americans signed petitions demanding Sgt. Tahmooressi’s release.

So this year when we say thank you to America’s veterans for all of their sacrifices, let us not forget Sgt. Tahmooressi, who is finally home with family and friends.

When Marines go into battle they have a saying: No Man Left Behind. It is a shame the White House refused to adopt this cry and instead allowed Sgt. Tahmooressi to languish alone for so long.

Gerry P. Little
Ocean County Freeholder
Toms River