I was both embarrassed and encouraged.
Last Sunday, our church surprised the many veterans in our congregation with a rousing thank you. As reported on Facebook:
“What a delightful day! We had a blast thanking our veterans after each service with big applause, cheering and donuts! Thank you to all who serve and have served! And thank you to all who participated today in making the cheering and donut enjoyment happen!! Have a wonderful Veteran’s Day this week!”
Why Was I Embarrassed? Encouraged?
Not to take away from any of the many men and women who have served or are faithfully serving their country, but I don’t feel somehow worthy of that honor.
When I think of those wounded (physically, mentally, emotionally) or who have given their all, who am I?
We see the plight of wounded warriors and their families suffering after all of their sacrifices, yet our government continually fails them. The Veterans Administration fails them. Extremely well-paid politicians fail them. Our brave servicemen and women see pay and benefit cuts, a downsized military, and upsized danger.
Even though the government and politicians have failed the institution that keeps America (and much of the world) safe, the nation still loves her men and women in uniform. Despite strong anti-military sentiments in the media, entertainment, and academia, the American people remain patriotic and supportive of those who willingly put themselves in harm’s way.
We see that patriotic spirit and love of those in the military – which warms the hearts of servicemen around the globe – at work in countless ways (kind words, respect, care packages, prayers, etc.).
(Thank you, my dear brothers and sisters at Church at Severn Run.)
Though it seems that the Obama administration has gone out of its way to wreak havoc within the military and relinquish the hard-fought victories it has won in various places around the world, the fighting spirit of the American military (and of We, the People) has not diminished.
Sarah Palin at CPAC
I was also deeply moved at CPAC 2015 when Sarah Palin paid tribute to veterans and the American military. It was very touching to hear her words in that auditorium and to be among the veterans standing to receive applause from the audience.
Palin wowed the audience with her mama grizzly love and support for our troops as she demonstrated an intimate understanding of the military ethos.
Palin observed (as Abraham Lincoln before her) that we should take care of those who have taken care of us. Palin said,
“America hands over her sons and her daughters in service with the promise that they’re going to be taken care of. Our troops are promised … that a grateful nation will spare no expense to patch them up and bring them back to health when wounded. Well, we, their mothers and their fathers and their husbands and their wives, we’re here to collect on the promises made.”
Palin lambasted the pacifist mindset which currently pervades the intelligentsia and which is anathema to victory, saying, “the thing that those vets, from the Revolutionary War, what they had, that today’s troops don’t, is victory. And that is the thing that they cherish most. They deserve to know that their sacrifices are not in vain. To know that what they fought for, and what their friends died for was worth it.”
Palin praised the military for its purpose and prowess, contending:
“Aside from God Almighty, what is the only force strong enough to keep this barbaric rolling tide at bay? The only thing standing in between us and savages? It’s the red, white, and blue. It’s the United States military.”
Understanding the Reagan Doctrine (peace through strength), Palin realizes that a strong military is essential to obtaining and preserving peace. Appeasement always entices evil tyrants and terrorists to pursue their evil ends. Palin noted:
“Oh, the naive Obama State Department. They say ‘We can’t kill our way out of war.’ Really? Tell that to the Nazis. Oh, wait. You can’t, because they’re dead. We killed ‘em.”
And Palin exhorted her listeners, vowing, “We will consign radical Islam to the ash heap of history, just like the Nazis before them.”
My Own Story
I enlisted in the U.S. Navy about a year before the Vietnam War ended. My 12-year naval career ended about five years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Highlights of my time in the Navy include overseas tours in Japan, Scotland, and Turkey, as well as brief naval deployments in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Few can say that they have been to Diego Garcia. Working at NSA for a number of years was also instructive and invigorating (my, how it has grown since my time in service).
I was blessed to meet my future wife in Scotland and to have my second reenlistment ceremony in Glamis Castle. I remain blessed to be an American in the most exceptional nation on earth.
May God always bless America!