VETERANS DAY 2013

flagWe have troops fighting overseas. Is it a big war? No. This time — this time it is actually a small conflict, but it is a difficult challenge for the troops involved. Imagine the logistics of fighting in a landlocked nation deep in the interior of Asia. Imagine being so far from home in an unfamiliar culture. Imagine being in land where trusting the people means risking your life. Imagine going to the other side of the world to fight an enemy so filled with hatred that to kill you he will kill himself.

America never has been much for keeping up a large standing army. Therefore, we depend upon a small number of valiant men and women to defend our freedom. Sometimes they have assignments where their permanent quarters are comfortable. Often they stand guard in lonely, rugged places. Occasionally, they are called upon to fight, never knowing exactly what to expect, but hoping their arms and training will be enough, and that their countrymen will not forget them.

What follows are emails I received from two veterans.

First Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter. He retired from U.S. Army as a Colonel after 28 years of service.

Their Faces…

Veterans Day…what does it mean to you? Well, for me it is special…it’s the day we pause to honor those who have served. I did for 28 years. Glad I did and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss being in the US Army, with my troops, doing the hard things, working, training, pushing ourselves to higher levels of performance. And then there’s the war. Mine was Desert Storm, the 1st Gulf War; one I had hoped would be the last. But that’s another story.

I can recall when I spoke to my troops the day we left the port of Dammam, Saudi Arabia to deploy to the desert to take our initial positions for the invasion. We were members of the 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One. We were all very aware of our storied history of accomplishment and the ones who had gone before, who had risked all and many who had given the last full measure of devotion. Now it was our turn. I looked into the faces of those men and I told them that we were there to do a job. We would do it, some of us may not come back-and some didn’t-but that we would do our duty just as the motto of the Big Red One says: “No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great, Duty First”.  At no time in the history of that motto was it more meaningful than the day the 1St Division stormed Normandy Beach in France on June 6th 1944. The images and meaning of that day, the Longest Day, were with us as we went out into the desert to take our place in the annals of a great Division. I could see in the faces of my troops that day that they understood why they were there and what they were called to do.

Do you know what I’m thinking about today? I’m thinking about their faces….

Never Forget,

Scott

Next, Bishop E. W. Jackson.  In the last election he ran as the Republican Party’s nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia.  Before attending college, Jackson served three years as U.S. Marine.

Honoring Veterans

Yesterday I had the privilege of standing with a group of Marines at the graveside of Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller. We were there not only to commemorate the Marine Corps birthday and memorialize one our greatest combat soldiers, but to honor our Veterans and active duty military personnel everywhere.

As I spoke to the illustrious group gathered in Saluda, Virginia where the old General retired, I wondered aloud what he and others who bled and died in the service of our country would think of America today. What would they think of the division by race and gender and income? What would they think of politicians who manipulate these divisions for personal political gain? What would they think of the cuts in our military budget, the specter of a President apologizing to the world for America or shutting our WWII Veterans out of their own memorial? What would they think of the failure to rescue our fellow Americans under attack in Benghazi?

We can only speculate what their response would be. What we do know is that in remembering them, we sound one note of unity. National security is the single most important Constitutional responsibility of our government. It is charged with protecting us and must therefore protect our Veterans from being treated like an afterthought or forgotten. Our men and women in uniform need first rate equipment. They need to be paid so they can support themselves and their families. And we should assure that the benefits we’ve promised them are sacrosanct, not used as leverage in political battles.

If we cannot be unified in anything else this Veterans Day, we must be unified in remembering and honoring our Veterans and active duty military. As Americans, let us make sure that our government honors the promises we have made to them.
For God and Country,

E.W. Jackson

SENATOR MARK OBENSHAIN ON 9/11/2001

Here are a few thoughts from Senator Mark Obenshain on 9/11/2001.

Some days forever echo in our memory; some days come to define entire generations. There are some days for which time stands still, for which the past is never dead, and not even past.

September 11th is such a day.

The passage of time separates us from the raw emotion of the event; the elapsing years bind up the wounds. But history is a pattern of timeless moments, so still we remember. We must remember. We will always remember.

Eleven years ago today, we watched in shock as the Twin Towers crumbled and a dark veil of dust descended upon Manhattan. The hole in the New York City skyline mirrored the raw hole in our nation’s soul.

We watched, shaken, as our enemies brought war to us. As a nation, we dropped to our knees that day. For a few fleeting moments, all of our differences vanished as we came together in prayer and in mourning.

And then, as a nation, we got off our knees and set to work, steeled in our resolve. Because that’s the story of America. We stand tall.

We are a changed nation because of September 11th. But I am the proudest of the ways in which we haven’t changed. As a nation and a people, we did not yield, we did not cower, and we did not give up on what makes America great — nor what makes her good.

In that dark hour, America’s goodness shown through, “a beam in darkness: let it grow.” The dying sun gave way to the flickering light of untold memorial candles, illuminating the soul of a nation.

On that crisp autumn morning eleven years ago, we were reminded in sorrow of the grave threats posed to our nation, and we took great comfort in the assurance that the men and women of our military know no equal, and that, in dedication, they have no peer.

Since that day, we have required much of them. Many have sacrificed — far too many have given their lives — in service to country, and today, it is fitting that we remember them along with those who lost their lives in the attacks eleven years ago.

We owe it to their memory to remain true to the promise of America, to continue to stand for the principles that set us apart as that shining city on a hill-to make liberty our byword. We don’t always live up to this obligation, as individuals or a nation, but I hope that as we reflect upon this tragic anniversary, we will make this our pledge in solemn tribute: that we will stand fast in liberty. There can be no more enduring memorial.

With best regards,

Mark D. Obenshain
Virginia State Senator

Tribute to the SEALs (via Deo Vindice)

Here is a link to The Navy SEAL Foundation.

from http://bonmimi.blogspot.com/
This past weekend, Naval Special Warfare suffered the greatest loss of life in a single day since WWII.  Over twenty SEALs were killed when a helicopter was reportedly shot down by Taliban fire in Afghanistan on Friday.  President Obama described the losses of these Americans as such: “Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, includi … Read More

via Deo Vindice

THE EMAIL HOAXES KEEP COMING

I got this email today. It’s about a play cemetery. In a sordid way, it is kind of funny. Perhaps that’s why someone got the urge to subtly misrepresent Veterans For Peace‘s anti-war publicity stunt as a demonstration of support for the troops. The email also contains straightforward untruths. So the fact checkers are all over it. Here are some examples.

Have seen this several times but am forwarding to keep this moving.

Fwd from a Brother Marine

Santa Barbara Beach

The first picture and the last picture are taken at the beach in Santa Barbara right next to the pier. There is a veterans group that started putting a cross and candle for every death in Iraq and Afghanistan . The amazing thing is that they only do it on the weekends. They put up this graveyard and take it down every weekend. Guys sleep in the sand next to it and keep watch over it at night so nobody messes with it. Every cross has the name, rank, DOB and DOD on it. Very moving, very powerful!!! So many young volunteers. So many 30 to 40 year olds as well.

Amazing!

Did you know that the ACLU has filed a lawsuit to have all military cross-shaped headstones removed?

and another suit to end prayer from the military completely. They’re making great progress. The Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus’ name in prayer thanks to the ACLU.

I’m not breaking this one.

If I get it a 1000 times, I’ll forward it a 1000 times! Please,

let us pray…

Please send this on after a short prayer. Prayer for our soldiers Don’t break it! Prayer: ‘Heavenly Father, hold our troops in Your loving hands Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in this our time of need. These things I humbly ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.’

GOD BLESS YOU FOR PASSING IT ON!

God bless America

Wikipedia, of course, has a write-up on Arlington West, a presumptuous title for a phony cemetery.

Here is a local news article, Crossroad for the Crosses: Arlington West Faces Changes as Focus Shifts to Afghanistan.

I suppose Veterans For Peace is well-intentioned, but I find it strange that people would spend so much time and labor in a totally unproductive activity. Why not repeatedly dig a hole and fill it up again? What’s the difference? What is the point putting up and taking down a phony graveyard just to “show” the human cost of a war? Why do they refuse to consider the human cost of a phony peace? Do they fear war because it is so much easier to visualize a graveyard? Are they unafraid of tyranny because they simply cannot comprehend what it means? What lucky souls they must be?

We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. — Winston Churchill (from here)