I originally planned this post for Memorial Day. Such a day, though, is for honoring the sacrifices of all who have paid for our freedom with their last full measure of devotion. This post, I pray, still honors those; but it will also speak up for those whom this country has failed. Allow me to explain.
“What is a Veteran? A ‘veteran’ whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to, and including his life.’ That is Honor. And there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.” (Author unknown)
When a family grieves the loss of their Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine or Coast Guard they know their loved one dutifully, particularly during the draft, and many voluntarily wrote that blank check to their country. The family deserves to know the check was cashed toward protecting this country, its people, our way of life, protecting all, the great and the not-so-great. They deserve to know the check was not VOIDED and their loved one died needlessly. They know that in war and in training, accidents happen; that is not the issue. They know there are mistakes and bad judgment calls by leaders who are, themselves, human and fallible. That too, is not the issue.
What voids a check in such circumstances is that their loved one died because of criminal negligence and that betrayal of trust was never brought to justice. Unfortunately, over our country’s history, there are many examples. One most current, which could still be corrected by those with the power to do so, happened in two places. A small U.S. Embassy post in a place called Benghazi and in the Secretary of State’s office in Washington D.C. Four Americans died in the September 12, 2012 Benghazi attack; Ambassador Chris Stevens, former teacher Peace Corps; Information Officer Sean Smith, a U.S. Air Force veteran and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALS.
In January of 2013, Rep. Jim Jordan, (OH) questioned SOS Clinton concerning her lack of honesty to the American people in hearings regarding the non-response. Her response to him and the previous representative included her now infamous words, in sum, “What does it matter?” In context, she is referring to the original impetus for the attack whether it is one thing or another. For the families of those killed, it matters a great deal and so does the lack of response by the administration to send aid. Bad decisions, every one of them. What voids the check, however, are the lies produced to cover it up and the lack of justice for those who were criminally negligent in fulfilling the duties of their office. There is still time for such justice for this case. Sadly, many other cases are long out of reach, though not out of the hearts and memories of the families.
What we should commit ourselves to, as Americans, is that there will never be another VOIDED check, ever in our nation’s future. Our military families deserve to know the strength of our resolve in such a time, as this. For us, that is HONOR.