A VOIDED CHECK

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.

A close up of a map

Description automatically generated
Benghazi, Libya    
The West Coast of Africa

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.

RESILIENCE – America at Its Core

The news release read: “The Taliban, he says, has been a clever and persistent foe, and has not been defeated. It will re-emerge…” in the statement by former Congressman Peter Hoekstra. The article went on to say that he was “very very pessimistic…” as he assesses NATO and U.S. troop withdraw from Afghanistan.1 If there is any one thing Americans, particularly politically conservative Americans should not be, it is pessimistic.

911remember

As we approach Law Enforcement Memorial Week with a time on the 15th where those who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2012 are honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. and in services across the country, the operative word is Resilience. In the wake of the Boston bombings, in an incredibly short span of time, officers were able to identify the offenders and neutralize the threat. We are at a time when our political processes, though far from perfect, are able to bring to light the inadequacies of the highest levels of government and their lack of response to egregious acts against our embassy in Benghazi and Tripoli. We, as the strongest democratic Republic in the world, are able to call our leaders before us as citizens and say, you were wrong and you deserve to pay for those lapses of judgment. The United States of America still, with ridiculous budget cuts brought on only by political ineptitude, are still able to muster the largest standing all volunteer military on the face of the globe and across all history. America has much for which she may be proud, even more for which to be thankful to God, Almighty, the One True God.
A recent article by William Kristol contained this statement: “The British have known for centuries that it’s not enough to hope for happy and glorious days in the future. It’s also necessary, with God’s help, to act in the present to scatter our enemies and make them fall. It’s necessary to confound their politics and frustrate their knavish tricks.”2 The conservative American, be he a statesman or a day laborer knows one thing within his inner most being. It is a fact that cannot be argued to too fine a point, simply that the facts of a free market, a smaller federal government and citizens who are armed both with the knowledge of history and the armament of the future is the successful way to govern. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated it as such: “There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.”3
Countless men and women have literally given their very lives in pursuit of the freedom that Americans enjoy every day. We, as the current holder of the torch must never allow the ill winds of pessimism, defeatism and cowardice to extinguish that flame. It is that brightly burning flame that has brightened the path for so many to follow. There will always be the ‘nay-sayers’ and the pessimists. There will always be the politicians who are in the halls of legislatures that are there for all the wrong reasons. They are the ones who when questioned about their failure to act in a time of crisis will respond, “What does it matter now?” When that exact same politician declared only months before when seeking even higher office, that they would be the ones we want to answer the phone at 3a.m. when the world was falling apart. Three a.m. came and went on their watch, they did nothing and good people died. What does it matter now? It matters a great deal more today than perhaps it ever did before.

Just a few short hours ago, a call came to the office. It was from a local radio station that had thrown its full support behind helping stem the critical lack of blood supplies for our citizens and our soldiers. That young man needed to know if this small business would stand with them. Word that our troops do not have enough blood supplies to help them while still on the battle fields rang a strong chord in this old veteran’s heart. This veteran has a soldier son, who is hurt, who must face the surgeon’s scalpel in only a few short hours. But, even if that call was not so close to home, this veteran and a hundred thousand others across this great nation would form the longest blood drive line one could ever see – just tell them where duty calls, let them hear the trumpet blast, and they will rise. They have given it all before and they will do it all again.

I am proud that I had the opportunity to serve both in this nation’s armed forces and along the thin blue line. God has been gracious to me and kept me from much of the evil that has surrounded me throughout the years. If I can do nothing more now than to add my name to a list to support such a worthy cause, then allow that to be the case. General Douglas MacArthur, upon his retirement, is quoted as saying: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”4 In many ways, I am sure that is true but in so many more ways, I believe the valor, the pride, the distinction with which they served lives on in the lives, in the faces, and in the resilience of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and their combined families of the United States of America. “ I’m proud to be an American”, the country western song goes, “where at least I know I’m free; and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me…”5 Resilience, it comes not from a text book, a Sunday school lesson, not even a sermon. It comes from the hard, gnarled hands that are no stranger to hard work and it is passed from those hands by the soft caress of a newborn baby’s cheek; a tear in an old man’s eye at the sight of Old Glory passing by. May God bless America and may Americans bless God.

NLEOM logo patch
ENDNOTES
1 http://www.lignet.com/ArticleAnalysis/Hoekstra--Afghanistan-is-fragile-and-likely-to-reg
2 Kristol, William Resistance is Not Futile The Weekly Standard February 25, 2013
3 Ibid.
4http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Douglas_MacArthur
5Lee Greenwood - I'm Proud To Be An American (Lyrics in description)