11/23/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom

Morris soldier lives his dream

To the Editor:

Last weekend, two guys with roots in New Jersey got married (no, not to each other). One at an extravagant wedding -- fit for the Hollywood royalty he is -- at a castle in Italy. The guests were the rich and the famous who smiled and posed for the paparazzi and the world. The radiant bride was also a movie star.

The other groom had a much smaller affair: an outdoor wedding, by a gazebo on a lake in Florida. He was a military hero, a wounded warrior, who confidently got up from his wheelchair and walked to his bride. The guests were friends and family who smiled and posed (and I am sure, cried) for the Daily Record photographer and reporter who covered the story. The bride, a teacher, was absolutely glowing with love for her shy soldier.

Tom Cruise and Jim Benoit followed different paths in life and made different career choices after graduating from different New Jersey high schools. American dreams can be pursued whether you are a movie star or in the military. Both jobs can provide their own spin on being a risky business. The media writes of Cruise as making a "comeback." But the true comeback kid here is Benoit. After being critically wounded in Iraq, being told by the doctors he would probably never walk again, and undergoing 79 surgeries, he walked at his wedding.