The real ‘Magnificent Seven’*

Gary Bégin


They were from 19 to 37-years-old. Here are their names, ages and hometowns:

• Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, Palmyra, Virginia

• Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, San Diego, California

• Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, Oakville, Connecticut

• Noe Hernandez, 26, Weslaco, Texas

• Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, Chula Vista, California

• Xavier Alec Martin, 24, Halethorpe, Maryland

• Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, Elyria, Ohio

Our children and grandchildren ought to be told of their sacrifice. They were the seven sailors that were killed by a Japanese cargo ship last month while sleeping on their ship, a destroyer that tirelessly patrols the oceans of the world keeping our commercial shipping lanes free and open to the world’s commerce. 

Yet commerce and corporations are bad things in the eyes of too many. Without men like these watching our backs, your “Little Johnnies” and “Janes” would not have the frivolous luxury of demanding another app for their over-priced smart phones.

Xbox and the latest model of Kia would not be in America, but still somewhere in Asia.

As it turns out, the destroyer apparently ignored warnings by the cargo ship to get out of the way. It is just another example of how “real” reality actually is. People are human and mistakes happen and the consequence in this case was death.

The real “Magnificent Seven” are heros in my book. They are not the stuff of Hollywood, but the woof and warp, the salt of the earth, that is America’s all-volunteer military.

They deserve the thanks and respect of the nation. Perhaps a national day of remembrance. Instead our nation is a slave to the pop culture that creates traitors like Snowden. They who think they have a right to bring us all down.

No, people like him don’t have that right. Free speech is one thing, but destruction of the very democracy that gave us free speech is a sign of mental illness, some call it treason, and needs to be governed accordingly. 

Johnny Depp is just an actor. Madonna is just a singer. Jimmy Fallon a mere talk show host. Seattle Seahawks just football players. Yet some of our kids and grandkids praise these folks like they were the cat’s meow.

Most kids know the latest hip-hop lyrics, but not the national anthem.

Why don’t we all take a breathe, look around, then realize everything you see and everything you are “free” to do is because of those sailors who were willing to literally die for their country. 

Go ahead and send the kids and grandkids to the college of their choice with your money, but before they start the fall semester, teach them to respect the country that allows them to go there and allows institutions of “higher learning” to even exist in the first place.

It is called gratitude for what they have. It is called love of country. It is called patriotism. Hope you all had a happy fourth and a great BBQ and took time to remember those who couldn’t be there to share the fun.

RIP Magnificent Seven, RIP.

* The Magnificent Seven - 1960 movie based on the Seven Samurai. A group of tough men defend a small town full of helpless peasants from those who would oppress them.


Gary Bégin’s opinion is not necessarily that of NCW Media. He can be reached at

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