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  • Webb Blog

    Convention thoughts from Tom Webb

    Monday, August 30, 2004

    Old soldiers...wait, not that old. 

    Joe Repya, a veteran from Eagan, twice basked in the convention spotlight Monday night.

    First, Repya led the Republican delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance. He thinks he was chosen for this honor because, after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, Repya volunteered to come out of retirement and rejoin the active-duty military. He expects to go to Iraq soon, again serving our country.

    His second appearance Monday night veered a teeny bit off-script. A GOP television crew interviewed Repya on the convention floor, and his comments were aired in the hall and over television.

    The young interviewer asked, "You served not only in Kuwait, but also in the Korean War and in Desert Storm. Now, why don't you tell me, you retired in 1998. You have decided to serve your country again, and return to Iraq. Why?"

    Replied Repya, who is 58, "Well, actually, Vietnam and Desert Storm."

    Well, close. But Repya made a nice recovery and continued.

    "I believe that this nation needs strong leadership at the top, with someone like George W. Bush, but they also need strong leadership on the battlefield. Our nation is at war, and my family and I are willing to make that sacrifice."

    Tom Webb

    Tom Webb is the Washington correspondent for the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. He can be reached at

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