Harlingen, Texas, April 21, 2007: As long as I can remember, the uniformed services of the United States have been the glue that holds the country together. It also has never mattered if a citizen performed military service, as long as he or she championed those who did answer the call-to-arms.
But, that was in the past. In those days it mattered not that a person was young or old. It also mattered not what political ideology the individual voiced. When it came to advancing the pride, security, dedication to duty, or the inspiration of America...everyone looked to its armed forces. When it came to leadership, America sought out veterans who had already displayed insight and courage while defending the nation. These were the people who continued to lead their cities, states and the country.
But, slowly, with the creeping pace of all things rotten...something foul started eating away at our core. The citizen soldiers, the war veterans, the retired military leaders all started vanishing from the public arena. We drifted away from having pride in America to a time of pandering to the personal desires of the few. We entered a time of replacing the heroes of our nation who had so diligently continued to serve in public office, with a huge band of political prostitutes who would sell their very souls for another two or three years of elected power.
This became the time when Americans forgot that we were “united” as a country. Personal beliefs, political preferences, red and blue states, racial divides, class hatred, along with rage at anyone with different values became the templates by which we placed individuals in public office. Exploiting the self-interests of Americans became the model by which the egocentric, greedy, and corupt advanced themselves.
Thus we have the America of today. The band of brothers has turned itself into general against general, sergeant against sergeant, and veteran against veteran. Many of us who spent years of our lives in defense of the United States have drifted away from our basic belief in One Nation Under God.
Today, however, I was reminded that all is not lost in America and there is a way to return to past glory. An email from a friend in Florida pointed the way.
Colonel Harry G. Riley, USA (Ret) is perhaps best known for his leadership in the creation of the “Gathering of Eagles” rally held in Washington D. C. on March 17, 2007. This combat hero, who holds both the Silver Star and Bronze Star awards for valor and meritorious service, has continued his public leadership long after military retirement. That was evident when he became the driving force that held the “Eagles” together as thousands upon thousands of Americans marched in one of the finest patriotic and motivating events the country has seen in decades.
Says Harry Riley, “If all veterans, retirees, spouses, widows, and American patriots in general, without regard to political affiliation or agendas could display uncompromising motivation on the principles of unity and safety of America, support for our troops, and honor the commitment to those we send into harms way when they return...not only could we win the war in Iraq and on terror...we could turn the political hacks into has-beens...”
He proposes we expand the “Gathering of Eagles” format to motivate Republicans, Democrats, independents, moms, dads, widows, young and old to lift up our troops, respect the fallen and honor America. The colonel feels, as do thousands of other veterans that we should no longer stand for “lip service remarks” of supporting our troops. He sees an urgency to stamp out the surrender mentality of Washington, and foster the belief that America is worth fighting for and our troops are more than worth all of our unfailing support.
Many echo those thoughts. Now those who have defended this nation need to come together again and send a message to Washington that we have had our fill of treason, traitors and political pandering.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may feel as he said this week, “I believe that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything....
Most of the active duty military, retired community and veterans believe...”We have not yet begun to fight.” Those of us who have moved to the sidelines should rejoin that battle.