I’ve listened to the criticism from individuals I have no use for. Individuals who serve no purpose other than to condemn the United States while they make themselves rich from its largess. They condemn what they don’t understand, for their lives are small and filled only with distain for those who do not share their same petty views.
Today my wife and I enjoyed the movie “American Sniper” a magnificent memorial to Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, produced and directed by American legend Clint Eastwood. It was a dramatic testament to conflict that celebrates his combat, but understates the psychological conflict that so many veterans must fight if they are to survive in life, and the flaws that make an individual human. I certainly understand the compromises a movie must make in the telling of a story; perhaps someday we will better understand those inner battles.
Through my career I was privileged to work with, and support, America’s elite warriors. These are men who had courage far beyond mine, men who placed themselves as shields to protect the weak and the helpless. As a nation we’ve always had those that stood ready to risk all for a good far greater than the average person can understand, and for that same time we’ve had small and petty opportunist’s to condemn them, seeking their own personal gain.
For those who’ve been lucky enough not to know war first hand, and I count myself in that group, we can never appreciate what separates men like Kyle from the average, or what holds them together when the carnage ends. There was a Navy Commander I worked with once, he was also a SEAL, and he carried with him the scares of a failed operation as part of our rescue in Granada. We talked once about that operation and the courage of his team as they went into the Op. His humility about his role, and the courage behind that humility was for me awe-inspiring.
Each morning I watch as the next generation of courageous young men and woman are shaped into warriors who will pick up the shield of defense. I pray that those voters who will never make the life or death decisions these warriors will, have the courage to elect leaders who honor their courage and realize the cost to the nation when they throw these young people away as a cost of doing business, or because their lives mean so little when compared to political aspirations.