Category Archives: Military

Where Soldiers Find Peace

It’s a long way from the dusty battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to the crystalline waters of Lake Clark in the mountains of Alaska. But every summer since 2012, hundreds of current and former members of the military and their spouses make their way there through Operation Heal Our Patriots, a ministry of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.

Many of these veterans arrive at Samaritan Lodge dealing with the aftermath of their service to our nation—wounded in their bodies, minds and spirits. The stress of learning to adjust to civilian life with their families and dealing with new physical limitations caused by injuries puts a strain on military couples. Many of them don’t make it. The ministry began as a way to reach out to these battle-weary soldiers and their spouses and help them refocus on building and maintaining strong marriages. Some couples, on the verge of divorce, find a new love for each other as they spend a week experiencing the natural beauty of Alaska and attending Bible-based marriage enrichment classes. Retired military chaplains are on staff to encourage and pray with attendees. Operation Heal Our Patriot marriage retreats often end with vow renewals for many of the couples, as well as baptisms for those who are either re-dedicating their lives to Jesus Christ or finding Him for the first time.

One couple who found respite during their time in Alaska is Army Staff Sergeant Juan Montealvo and his wife Tanya. A few days before Christmas in 2004, Montealvo was on a mission to deliver school supplies to Iraqi children in Mosul when a bomb planted by insurgents exploded near his vehicle. He survived that and several other explosions during his three combat tours to Iraq, and when he came home for good in 2010, Tanya noticed he wasn’t quite himself. Montealvo was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and went through physical and speech therapy. Tanya became his care-giver, and the strain of adapting to their new normal was something they never prepared themselves to handle.

When Tanya heard about Operation Heal Our Patriots, she believed it was an answer to their prayers and said, “Our souls, our spirits, our minds needed this to reset…I’m ready for a new beginning with my husband, walking along with Jesus.”

The ministry doesn’t end once these families leave Alaska, however. Ongoing outreach helps them to find a church or military chaplain in their local communities so they can develop a strong network of support. Reunions are also held at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in North Carolina so that participants can make new friendships and renew those they made in the Alaskan wilderness. All of this—including travel to Alaska—is free to the couples and is made possible by donations to Samaritan’s Purse/ Operation Heal Our Patriots.

This ministry is open to all current and former veterans who have served since September 11, 2001. Interested couples can go to the Samaritan’s Purse website to fill out an application. If you’d like to help send these brave American heroes to Lake Clark next summer, please consider making a donation on the website. What better way to say “thank you” to them this Veterans Day?

Wedding vow renewal ceremonies are common during Operation Heal Our Patriot's Alaskan retreats.- Courtesy SamaritansPurse.org

Wedding vow renewal ceremonies are common during Operation Heal Our Patriot’s Alaskan retreats.- Courtesy SamaritansPurse.org

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Sacrifice

Arlington

Some women veterans of World War II who had been denied burial in Arlington National Cemetery are now allowed that honor.  Earlier this week, Congress passed a bill permitting female pilots—known as WASPS—the high honor of being buried in what really is sacred ground.

According to Stars and Stripes, members of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots have been working to right this wrong since the Army last year reinterpreted a law from the 1970s that banned them from Arlington burials as a way to deal with the increasingly limited space there.  These brave Fly Girls were trained pilots who transported combat aircraft from 1942-1944, but were not considered active-duty service members at the time.

Thank goodness that was remedied, and the WASPS have since been given the Congressional Gold Medal and veteran benefits for their service.  They stepped into roles outside of the norm for women, and should be recognized for that.  This really has nothing to do with the controversy over women in combat roles.  I don’t personally believe that’s the proper role for women, but they do have a place if they choose to have one within the military.

I once knew a guy who was a veteran who used to refer to female Marines as “WOMAN Marines”.  But he said it with a certain amount of disdain in his voice as if their service was somehow less than his own.  I got the impression he didn’t see them as fellow Marines who just happened to be female.  It’s like the ignorant boss who looks down on his secretary without getting a clue that she (or he for that matter) makes his job easier (if he or she is good at what they do).

I give that above example just as a way to explain that all veterans—male and female—have given something of themselves to preserve the ideas of the American experiment.  They just do it in different ways.  Most gave at least some of their time in their youth, their innocence; some lost limbs, sanity or relationships…others gave their lives.  Even those who served in situations where they weren’t in danger should have our gratitude so long as they did it with honor.

There’s a sign outside of a veterans’ hospital in the area I grew up in that  has this statement:  “The price of freedom is visible here.”  It can’t be said too often that freedom isn’t free—it always costs someone something.  That’s true if we’re talking about the freedom we have within our nation, and the freedom we need within ourselves.

Today is Good Friday.  Many Christians remember an even greater sacrifice that was made for all people of all times by the only One who could have made it.  It wasn’t to save men from the clutches of an evil dictator or repressive government, but to save people from ourselves and the consequences of the sin we were all born into.  Jesus died once for all of us to save us from an eternity apart from Him.

It didn’t take an act of Congress to do it…we just need to believe it.

Price of Freedom

Whiners and Warriors

It’s no wonder why some parents are reluctant to send their children away to college these days. College campuses are full of absolute chaos, as evidenced by the Yale Halloween costume controversy and the Missouri racial issues that resulted in the president of that school stepping down. College students seem mad all the time…angry at every perceived injustice. Students– aided by their left-wing professors and a 24/7 news cycle that feeds on the hash-tag-fight-of-the-day– are in a battle for everything.

Just a day after we remembered the service of our nation’s veterans, students across the nation walked out of classes to have their #MillionStudentMarch. They demanded to have a free education (because it’s a human right, don’t you know?), as well as a $15 minimum wage and student loan forgiveness. It was a collective large-scale temper tantrum with capitalism and traditional American ways being targeted for their “unfairness” and “injustice”.

One of the organizers, Keely Mullen, a student at Northeastern University, was interviewed on Fox by Neil Cavuto and it’s both painful and satisfying to watch. Mullen suggested that all these demands could be met if the “one percent” would just pay more taxes. When Cavuto calmly questioned her as to whether she or any of her peers would want 90 or 100 percent of their income confiscated through taxes once they become established, she hemmed and hawed and seemed pretty flabbergasted.

Mullen is a Marxist and is no stranger to far-left causes, so you would think she’d be better able to explain why she feels like things are so unfair for her and her fellow students. Lost in the coverage of the Million Student March is that she herself is part of the one percent whom she claims is “hoarding all the wealth” which causes so much distress for college students.   Her LinkedIn profile picture shows her up on a stage with a bullhorn and she describes herself as a “student pursuing opportunities in community organizing and anti-racism advocacy work”. She’s majoring in political science and Sociology, so she’s probably had more than enough opportunities to have the idea of “white guilt” drummed into her, along with all the usual anti-capitalist, anti-American garbage.

Northeastern charges around $45,000 a year for tuition, so Mullen can look forward to a pretty hefty debt load once she’s finally finished with her four years of studying community organizing and interning with the ACLU. She complained to Cavuto about how high tuition was and that it’s just not fair that students here in the US have to actually pay for a college education when other countries give it to their citizens for free. Well, Keely- other nations also tax their citizens into lifestyles that you and your friends would find very hard to live in. You may also want to stop and think for a minute:  Why do so many of them forego their free educations in their home countries to come to American universities?

I’d just like to know who twisted her arm and forced her to go to an expensive school, and major in two areas that almost guarantee unemployment after graduating? It’s not like she didn’t know going in what the cost would be—and why should her debt be forgiven? Many of us have had to struggle to pay off student loans years after our diplomas expired. She may want to think about the reasons why college is so expensive—high salaries paid to professors who can never be fired due to tenure; or the fact that the government is now in charge of student loans, so the higher the tuition, the more money that needs to be borrowed, and therefore more money rolling into the hands of the government. I’m sure she never gives a thought to those things when she’s out with her bullhorn making demands of her fellow Americans.

But in this country…at least for now…she has the right to speak. She has that right because of the First Amendment to the Constitution that so many people gave their lives to defend over the course of our history. One young active duty Marine had a different opinion on what the students were doing on college campuses this week, and took to social media to set them straight. Tweeting a selfie, dressed in fatigues and carrying a full load on his back, James Erickson said this: “I wanted money for school, so I marched too…#millionstudentmarch This one was about 25 miles…”

He didn’t even need a bullhorn.

The young and the restless- entitled students demand free education and debt forgiveness.

The young and the restless- entitled students demand free education and debt forgiveness during the Million Student March.

Scrapping Traditions

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Oct 15 2007 "These colors don't run"

How do you celebrate Veterans’ Day without those pesky displays of patriotism? Just ask the powers that be at Seattle Pacific University. In an effort to refrain from offending anyone…hmmm…it was announced that the Christian school would not have the presentation of the colors or the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance during their chapel this week when they hold their Veterans’ Day remembrance.

After this news came out last Friday in the conservative student-run website The College Fix, the school—one day later—reversed their decision and now the Veterans’ Day service at the chapel will include The Pledge and presentation of the colors. The SPU Military & Veteran Support Group launched a Facebook campaign to get the word out about their school’s stance that “a few people” would be made “uncomfortable” if The Pledge were recited during a Christian service.

Of course, that makes no sense at all, given that our nation as founded began as a place where people (the Pilgrims) escaped to so that they could specifically practice Christianity and where they would be free to read the Bible without having to go through the Church of England (the King) and accept whatever interpretation came down from him. So, reciting The Pledge, especially during a Veterans’ Day service, would be entirely appropriate at a Christian university.

But that involves knowing history. Today’s college campuses are more interested in ridiculous speech codes and protecting students from “micro-aggressions”. Instead of being hotbeds of new and diverse thinking, most college campuses today are run by far-left professors and administrators who believe the only people that it’s okay to offend are Christians…and apparently the military. Many campuses today are filled with children in adult bodies who feel threatened and “uncomfortable” if they encounter beliefs that challenge their own.

The Constitution—when taught at all— is presented as a “living, breathing document” that should change with the times and be molded to the whims of whomever is in power. Students don’t learn any longer that our Constitution was meant to be a firm foundation of eternal truths upon which the strongest most influential nation in world history was built.

To even introduce the idea that displays of patriotism are inappropriate on Veterans’ Day—at a Christian university, no less—is a little ominous. People in a free society should expect that at some point, they may encounter something that will offend them. The chapel service at Seattle Pacific isn’t even mandatory for students, so anyone who thinks they would be offended by what happens there could just not show up.

But that would be too easy. It’s much better (in the minds of some) to strip away every patriotic vestige from true American holidays for everyone else…and give a slap in the face to those who served our country in the process.

 

 

 

For Those They Left Behind

Flag presented to tearful child

With tomorrow being Memorial Day, it’s important that we all take the time sometime during the course of this weekend to remember those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. While it’s a good idea to appreciate all veterans for their service every day—and we have Veterans’ Day in November as well–Memorial Day is a particular time to salute the ones who never made it home.

One of those was Special Operations Chief Aaron Vaughn, a Navy SEAL who was highly decorated for his service during his many deployments around the world—including several to Afghanistan and Iraq. He was among 30 servicemen killed in action in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011 when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down. He left behind a wife and two very young children—his youngest, a daughter, was just 8 weeks old at the time of his death. She’ll never remember being held by him or get the chance to walk down the aisle with him by her side on her wedding day.

Such is the case with thousands of children whose parents (usually their fathers) are taken away as they bravely defend our freedom in foreign lands. As a way to honor SOC Vaughn, his family started a non-profit organization that reaches out to these fatherless children in a meaningful way. Operation 300 holds camps in Florida for children who lost their dads in war. For a few days, the widows can meet with other widows while the kids go and have extreme adventures with mentors—men who provide them with guidance and memorable adventures such as riding horses, archery, shooting guns, sailing and surfing. According to the family, Aaron was fun and adventurous, and these are the kinds of things he would have loved doing himself. He was also a man of deep faith, who knew from the time he was a little boy that he wanted to be a Navy SEAL, and these camps give the kids more than just a chance to have fun. The camps give them the opportunity to create memories with men of integrity.

Operation 300 Founder and President, Tara Vaughn Baldwin (Aaron’s sister) said, “It is only fitting that to honor him, we give kids who have lost so much the opportunity to live like Aaron…if only for a short time.”

The organization has big dreams for the future. They are hoping to buy property of their own in order to establish a permanent home for Operation 300. They hold at least 4 camps each year, which benefit about 100 children, and all expenses for the children of these fallen heroes and their mothers are paid for by the organization. If you feel inclined to do so, donations can be made here.

You can learn more about Aaron, his family and his legacy by going to his parents’ website (forourson.us), and check out their Open Letter to Obama, reposted here last September.

“Greater love has no one than this: that one lay down his life for his friends.” -John 15:13

Where Soldiers Find Peace

It’s a long way from the dusty battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to the crystalline waters of Lake Clark in the mountains of Alaska. But every summer since 2012, hundreds of current and former members of the military and their spouses make their way there through Operation Heal Our Patriots, a ministry of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.

Many of these veterans arrive at Samaritan Lodge dealing with the aftermath of their service to our nation—wounded in their bodies, minds and spirits. The stress of learning to adjust to civilian life with their families and dealing with new physical limitations caused by injuries puts a strain on military couples. Many of them don’t make it. The ministry began as a way to reach out to these battle-weary soldiers and their spouses and help them refocus on building and maintaining strong marriages. Some couples, on the verge of divorce, find a new love for each other as they spend a week experiencing the natural beauty of Alaska and attending Bible-based marriage enrichment classes. Retired military chaplains are on staff to encourage and pray with attendees. Operation Heal Our Patriot marriage retreats often end with vow renewals for many of the couples, as well as baptisms for those who are either re-dedicating their lives to Jesus Christ or finding Him for the first time.

One couple who found respite during their time in Alaska is Army Staff Sergeant Juan Montealvo and his wife Tanya. A few days before Christmas in 2004, Montealvo was on a mission to deliver school supplies to Iraqi children in Mosul when a bomb planted by insurgents exploded near his vehicle. He survived that and several other explosions during his three combat tours to Iraq, and when he came home for good in 2010, Tanya noticed he wasn’t quite himself. Montealvo was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and went through physical and speech therapy. Tanya became his care-giver, and the strain of adapting to their new normal was something they never prepared themselves to handle.

When Tanya heard about Operation Heal Our Patriots, she believed it was an answer to their prayers and said, “Our souls, our spirits, our minds needed this to reset…I’m ready for a new beginning with my husband, walking along with Jesus.”

The ministry doesn’t end once these families leave Alaska, however. Ongoing outreach helps them to find a church or military chaplain in their local communities so they can develop a strong network of support. Reunions are also held at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in North Carolina so that participants can make new friendships and renew those they made in the Alaskan wilderness. All of this—including travel to Alaska—is free to the couples and is made possible by donations to Samaritan’s Purse/ Operation Heal Our Patriots.

This ministry is open to all current and former veterans who have served since September 11, 2001. Interested couples can go to the Samaritan’s Purse website to fill out an application. If you’d like to help send these brave American heroes to Lake Clark next summer, please consider making a donation on the website. What better way to say “thank you” to them this Veterans Day?

Wedding vow renewal ceremonies are common during Operation Heal Our Patriot's Alaskan retreats.-  Courtesy SamaritansPurse.org

Wedding vow renewal ceremonies are common during Operation Heal Our Patriot’s Alaskan retreats.- Courtesy SamaritansPurse.org

Fallen Hero’s Parents Write Open Letter to Obama (Guest Commentary)

***NOTE:  The following letter to President Obama was written by Billy and Karen Vaughn, parents of Aaron Carson Vaughn of SEAL Team VI who was killed in action in Afghanistan on 8/6/11.  It was originally published on WorldTribune.com 2 weeks ago and is re-printed here with the Vaughns’ permission.  Learn more about their story at www.forourson.us.

After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.

Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.

That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.

As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.

Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.

Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.

But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.

I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.

Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is on your shoulders.

You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.

And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.

You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.

America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road.

Chief Petty Officer Aaron Carson Vaughn of SEAL Team VI

Chief Petty Officer Aaron Carson Vaughn of SEAL Team VI

No Help For This Hero?

Is the case against a traumatized Marine imprisoned in Mexico being built upon a lie? That’s the claim this Memorial Day by the loved ones of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a young Marine reservist who was undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in California.

Family members say that on March 31, Sgt. Tahmooressi, 25, made one wrong turn and accidentally crossed the border into Mexico in his car, loaded with all of his personal belongings—including three registered firearms. He had moved to San Diego to receive treatment for PTSD and still had most of his possessions in his vehicle because he was looking for a permanent place to live. According to his mother Jill, he was driving near the border in Tijuana and ended up in the customs lane, missing the place where he could have turned around before ending up in Mexico. Reports indicate Sgt. Tahmooressi may have missed the turn due to construction taking place on the border, and the sign marking the U-turn back to the U.S. was not as prominent as it had been before construction.

Jill Tahmooressi, who has been in contact with her son, told The Blaze last week that she fears his case is “doomed” since the head of Tijuana’s customs office spoke out against him. Alejandro Gonzalez claims Sgt. Tahmooressi drove across the border on purpose to receive medical attention and meet friends—something his mother calls a “flat-out lie”. She said, “There’s no reason why he would ever go down to Mexico for medical care, especially when they don’t even know how to treat foreign combat PTSD. They never send their military to fight foreign wars.” She said her son can still receive health care under her insurance (since he’s under 26), and through the VA.

Sgt. Tahmooressi was initially placed in La Mesa prison in Tijuana, which was the site of 2 uprisings in 2008 that resulted in the deaths of 21 inmates. His hands and feet were chained to a bed for a number of weeks; he was threatened with rape and death. He was recently transferred to El Hongo prison—considered less dangerous than La Mesa—but still houses some dangerous characters. His mother says his condition has improved since being transferred since he’s no longer shackled and is in a private cell, away from the general prison population. He is waiting for his first court appearance on Wednesday when the Mexican border guards who arrested him will testify.

The plight of this soldier is coming out as the scandals with VA hospitals around the country are coming to light, leaving anyone paying attention to wonder, “Is this the best we can do for our veterans?” Some lawmakers, including Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) have rallied around Sgt. Tahmooressi, calling on the State Department and the Marine Corps to get involved. Rep. Hunter, who is also a Marine veteran, pleaded his case to Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos in which he gave details of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s heroic actions while serving in Afghanistan. He also lambasted Secretary of State John Kerry last week on The Glenn Beck Program saying he didn’t believe Kerry “gives a damn”. Since that interview, the Los Angeles Times has reported that Kerry did “mention” the plight of the Marine reservist to Mexican authorities, but the details of that conversation have not been made public.

Meanwhile, Jill Tahmooressi remains hopeful that justice will be done for her son. She said, “I’m still very faithful and know God will help us out.”

**If you would like to sign the petition in support of Sgt. Tahmooressi, you may do so here.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, imprisoned in Mexico

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, imprisoned in Mexico

When Leaders Lead

Today is Veterans Day.  Some people may have this day off from work or from school, and as with any other holiday, retailers have found a way to make some extra money as we all (hopefully) take this day to thank those who serve—and have served— this great and very blessed nation.

Those currently serving in the armed forces need extra prayers these days.  It seems like their own government is preying on them rather than praying for them.  Their training and resources are being cut.  Those of the Christian faith are forbidden to share their faith with their fellow soldiers, and Obama’s war on the chaplains during the government shutdown was big news (on conservative news sites at least).  It’s ironic that the very people who are right now defending our rights to speak our minds are having their own rights curtailed.  They have to serve under a Commander in Chief who neither respects them, nor goes out of his way to boost their morale.  It was his administration who concocted the asinine motto, “leading from behind”.

It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when Commanders in Chief and other military leaders were men of honor…true patriots and people of faith who did hard things, even when it wasn’t popular.  Many of them led, not from behind, but from beside and even from below:  as in down on their knees, in prayer for those they were leading into battle, and for the wisdom they needed during turbulent times.  Here’s just a few, in their own words:

“The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training—sacrifice.  In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image.  No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him.”- General Douglas Mac Arthur

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul…if we don’t have a proper fundamental background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!”-  Harry Truman, 33rd president

“Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.” – General George Patton

Peace fails when we forget what we stand for. It fails when we forget that our Republic is based on firm principles, principles that have real meaning, that with them, we are the last, best hope of man on Earth; without them, we’re little more than the crust of a continent. Peace also fails when we forget to bring to the bargaining table God’s first intellectual gift to man: common sense.” – Ronald Reagan, 40th president

Finally there was the Father of Our Country, President and General George Washington, who is portrayed in the famous painting in prayer at Valley Forge.  He said, “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

It may be time to pray for another George Washington, but until such time that a strong Commander in Chief is raised up to lead our dedicated armed forces…may they be safe in whatever situation they find themselves in at the moment, and may they return to their families very soon…and if you happen to be a veteran, thank you for your service!

A leader prays for his nation.

A leader prays for his nation.

My Dad in the Air Force in Korea in the early 1950's

My Dad in the Air Force in Korea in the early 1950’s

Hitting Below the Beltway

In an effort to spread misery amongst “the masses”, as any good progressive sees the rest of us, the Obama Administration continues to show its true colors during this second week of the so-called “government shutdown”.  So called, because, by most reports, about 80 percent of the government is running as usual.

Some good people are without their paychecks because they’ve been deemed “non-essential” and have been furloughed.  Why Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are considered essential is beyond my ability to explain, even in good times.  But that’s another story.

The worst thing to come out of the “shutdown”, besides the mass media focusing their blame on the wrong people (Tea Party Republicans instead of big government progressives from BOTH parties), is the shutdown of national parks and memorials.  Even—maybe especially—the open air memorials in Washington, D.C. that never have guards around them, such as the World War II and the Vietnam memorials.

Imagine a government that would deny access to the National Mall to American citizens, many of whom have fought for this nation, but open it up for thousands of illegal aliens for an amnesty rally.  They found the cash to build a big stage and I assume needed all of the appropriate police on duty that most rallies on the National Mall require—all for a bunch of discontented felons who broke federal law to be here, who only want to gather to demand citizenship to a country they hate in order to get the benefits they love.  And they did it with the support of some left-wing Congressmen, many of whom were arrested at the rally.  These future democrat voters had the red carpet laid out for them by the administration, but 90-year-old WWII veterans in wheelchairs are apparently the enemy.  When you have Obama’s union buddies sponsoring your rally, you get treated differently than a busload of elderly veterans in town for a few hours to view their own memorial.  To paraphrase George Orwell in his book Animal Farm, all are equal, but some are more equal than others.

The treatment of veterans in this government shutdown has been disgusting, and it hasn’t just been the people who came on Honor Flights—many of them either ignored the barricades set up by federal officials (who apparently haven’t been furloughed)—and went in to see the memorial anyway.  For most of these heroes, this is the first and last opportunity they’ll have to see it, and they weren’t about to take any Obama-crap.

Other shutdown shenanigans using veterans as pawns have included not issuing death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers.  Within three days of a soldier’s death, the Pentagon usually pays out $100,000, but has said there is no authority to make those payments due to the shutdown.  However, Congress contested this saying that a law passed prior to the shutdown gave the Department of Defense the authority to make such payments. The Senate also passed such a law, but the White House resisted because the president doesn’t want to deal with these “piecemeal” laws that fund various parts of the government, but not his precious Obamacare.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that no legislation was needed for this because a private foundation, The Fisher House, has agreed to pay these benefits for the duration of the shutdown.  Carney said they would be reimbursed by the DoD once the shutdown is over.

But wait…there’s more:  military chaplains who have been furloughed were threatened that they will be punished if they perform masses and baptisms for free.

-Obama made sure to spread the hurt across the Atlantic:  he closed the D-Day Memorial in Normandy, France as well as a number of other military cemeteries.

-Obama has dictated that the only part of the American Forces Network that won’t be shut down is the news division.  AFN provides news, sports and entertainment to our soldiers stationed abroad.  During the shutdown, as they risk life and limb for their nation, they will only be allowed to watch the news programming- nothing that will entertain them.

Obama has never been good at hiding his disdain for the military and his choice of what to close and what to keep open speaks volumes.  That’s why veterans from all over will be making their voices heard this Sunday, October 13th in Washington, D.C. for the “Million Vet March on the Memorials”.  If you live within driving distance, please go to show your support for them, or at least take a minute to sign their petition on the website.

The whole shutdown is really about the complete funding for the leviathan law known as Obamacare, which in its first week of operation, has proven itself to be as successful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.  Obama wasn’t willing to let Republicans in on the crafting of the law before it was passed, and he’s not willing to negotiate with them now.  He doesn’t like opposing views, and in his arrogance, doesn’t believe he has to hear them.

These events can’t be taken lightly.  I hope anyone who reads this will keep all of this in the back of your mind as a red flag.  Any president who would be willing to bully elderly veterans and keep a group of senior citizen tourists at Yellowstone under armed guard (yes, it happened, please read the article linked here) will do anything that needs to be done to make average citizens feel the pain in order to get what he wants…anything.

government-shutdown-cartoon-heller1-495x341***UPDATE 10/14/13:  Thousands of vets and supporters (including Sarah Palin) turned out yesterday to re-open the memorials in Washington, D.C.  Check out some memorable pictures here and here of the day’s peaceful protests.