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Cronauer served in the Air Force, not the Marines, but he’s internalized their slogan semper fi, which means “always faithful.” In the spring of 2004, Cronauer, speaking to the group of military lawyers in Virginia, said America spends more money ($106 million per year), time and effort on retrieving lost soldiers than any country in the world. He described a news conference in the Middle East during which a Defense official revealed that only one American was still missing after Operation Desert Storm. The incredulous reporter asked, “You’re going to all this trouble, coming all the way over here, devoting all these resources, just to account for one person?” The official replied, “Yes. And what does that tell you about America?”

The same thing it tells you about Cronauer who, two decades after “Good Morning, Vietnam” stormed the country, wakes up every morning with a sense of mission, a desire to fill gaping holes and salve the wounds of those left behind. Only because it’s right.

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