The Antioch City Council last week honored Isaac Morton, who was wounded while serving with the Army in Iraq. Morton wasn't at the Sept. 25 meeting to receive the proclamation, as he's being treated for leg and head injuries, but his parents and siblings were on hand to accept the thanks of city officials.
After reading a proclamation declaring Sept. 25, 2007 as Specialist Isaac Morton Day in the city of Antioch, Mayor Don Freitas said to his parents, Jim and Virginia, as well as to those in attendance, "I had the honor of meeting Isaac and I wanted to do something very special. We have the city of Antioch flag. The only other city of Antioch flag that I'm aware of is at the Antioch Historical Museum. But Debbie Smith, the city manager's secretary, was able to locate another city of Antioch flag. And I think that Mr. Morton is the only individual who has a city of Antioch flag.
"I wanted him to know that this community supports him in all of his efforts on behalf of this nation, on behalf of this state, on behalf of this community. So on behalf of all of us here, we truly, truly thank you. You've raised a great son. We hope that his injuries will be short-lived and he will be back to normal."
Police Chief Jim Hyde also met with Isaac when he came home in August to a hero's welcome sponsored by parents, friends family and the Blue Star Moms troop support group.
"The Antioch community reached out to this family in a time of need," said Hyde. "Isaac is supported by his family, his friends in this community. It means so much to him. I met with him a couple weeks ago. And we talked about some of his trials he's going through in his life.
"In my volunteer life, I do training for the Army National Guard for soldiers going to and returning from Iraq. So we shared some of those experiences to help him. And I think he's on the road to recovery. It's just how fast."
Jim and Virginia Morton and their children then received a standing ovation from those in the packed council chambers.
"Thank you very much for your show of support," said Jim. "Isaac truly appreciated it. It really made a difference to him. It made him feel loved and supported. I feel that it's helping him on his road to recovery from his injuries. Thank you very much."
Freitas said, "Back when the war began, I received a telephone call from a grandmother whose son was fighting. And she said, 'Don, we need to do something in the community honoring the men and women who are fighting.'
"In April, 2003 the city sponsored an event. We thought then that if we got 25 to 50 people participating, that would really be successful. As it turned out, we had about 1,000 to 1,200 residents here to honor the men and women who were fighting.
"As I said to Isaac and to his father tonight, when he comes back, I think it's time for us to do another event welcoming all of those who have been fighting back to our community."
Earlier Freitas read an e-mail he received earlier that day from 1st Sgt. Louis Chacone, U.S. Army retired:
"I'm not a resident of your city but I'm highly involved in my city West Covina, California and a member of the Patriot Guard. I want to thank you for honoring Specialist Isaac Morton tonight at your council meeting. Regardless of how we feel about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to recognize those young soldiers putting their lives on the line every day in support of our way of life and freedom we enjoy daily.
"Because of politics many lose sight of this simple but yet grand recognition of one of our true heroes. Regardless of your position and views of those opposed, I'm very glad that this soldier is being recognized tonight. On behalf of the many veterans that did not get this type of recognition I salute you for doing this."