My expensive buddy, Mark Thompson, is giving the following speech tomorrow at a gathering in Iowa to commemorate 9-11. Mark was a Marine. He left the Corps as a Main and took a job with the State Division’s Workplace of Counter Terrorism in 1996. He moved up the ranks and finally was named the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Army Affairs in the Bureau of Counter Terrorism when he retired in 2017. He was one of the whistleblowers on Benghazi. I want Mark was nonetheless on the job. He’s a real patriot. A person of integrity and honor. I like to recommend his phrases to you:
5 years in the past, I used to be honored to talk at an analogous occasion in Clarion. I’m once more privileged to be talking right here at this memorial. In 2016 I highlighted the sacrifices that the emergency responders made and proceed to make. I spoke of males who, twenty years in the past, ran into the fireplace, the smoke and chaos of crumbling buildings – not away from the hazard however into it – not simply as soon as, however time and again. These males – these moments, we should always remember. To neglect is to ignore. To ignore is to disrespect. Solely once we keep in mind and ponder on – and draw inspiration from their braveness – can we present them the honor they’re due. We additional honor these we misplaced by studying from these tragic moments in historical past and insisting that our political leaders do as properly. Women and men like these are nonetheless amongst us, and we misplaced 13 of them final month in Kabul.
At this time can be known as Patriots Day. It made me take into consideration how we outline a patriot. Is it somebody who fights for our nation and respects our flag? Is it somebody who places his hand over his coronary heart as the flag passes by? Or is a patriot somebody who places others earlier than self. I feel everyone knows particular individuals who match into all these classes.
There was a time period which was frequent a number of years in the past, American Exceptionalism. Many thought it implied Individuals have been conceited and that we thought of ourselves higher than others. I do know that’s not true. We’re distinctive as a result of now we have been blessed by God and our blessings are a lot deeper than our wealth or our army. We’re distinctive as a result of now we have a self-imposed (NOT government-imposed) obligation to take care of one another. I’ve seen battle-hardened Marines who’re warriors one second and caregivers the subsequent. Likewise, I’ve seen Wright County households who take up the slack when a neighbor falls on arduous instances. To be distinctive, to be patriotic, is to understand our blessings – to assist others, irrespective of whether or not we put on a uniform or not.
Like many issues in our life, we don’t admire our freedoms or different blessings till they’re taken from us. I just lately learn a harrowing story of a North Korean lady who escaped her nation at 13. As you realize, North Korea is nation which controls each side of folks’s lives and insists they actually worship the “Dear Leader” as they’re compelled to name their president. This lady is now 27 and was interviewed just lately – one of her statements struck me, “Freedom is a hard thing, it comes with great responsibility.” Her easy phrases have been profound. We regularly assume of freedom as doing no matter we would like, when it’s really the alternative, the obligation, to do what is true, regardless of the value.
Her story ought to immediate the query in all of us, what accountability have we taken for our personal liberties. I feel most of us must admit, now we have taken the liberties now we have enshrined in our Declaration and Structure with no consideration. We’ve got anticipated them to at all times be there as a result of that’s all now we have ever recognized. Many of us have fought for these liberties overseas, however at the moment are discovering them threatened right here inside our personal borders.
…… As we keep in mind the assaults on our nation twenty years in the past, our ignoble retreat from Afghanistan, and the well being considerations generated by the Chinese language virus – we’re besieged by the enormity of all of it. We ask ourselves — is our concern larger than our religion? Should we commerce liberty for security?
As we honor those that have served, and in lots of circumstances given their lives for us, we should step ahead ourselves. As we have a look at this Freedom Rock, we’re reminded that its inscription provides us our marching orders: President Kennedy stated: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Historical past exhibits us that the reply to our present challenges begins and ends with our religion. Our pledge reminds us that we’re “one nation under God.” Our exceptionalism, our very existence comes from God. I need to confess I’ve discovered myself on my knees way more in the previous yr than ever earlier than.
Likewise, I’ve studied our founding paperwork from which to attract data and context. I’ve concluded that we are the folks we’ve been ready for. If not us, who? If not now, when? It’s tempting to take our location right here in the Midwest as assurance that we aren’t at present threatened. Neither distance nor location will defend us. Extra importantly, it is not going to defend our youngsters and grandchildren.
Our structure supplies the instruments to defend our republic at instances like these. We start domestically. Our elected officers, from our Supervisors, mayors, our faculty board and our State Legislators are elected by us and derive any authority they’ve from us. As the saying goes, politicians don’t begin parades, they be a part of them. They have to hear our considerations and when mandatory, the beliefs on which public service relies. Until we inform our elected officers what we anticipate and what we discover repugnant, we can not anticipate any change, both domestically or nationally. It’s a privilege to serve, not a proper.
Our involvement relies on the info now we have accessible to us. Thus – we should be proactive in our absorption of information. Gone are the days the place the main networks are reliable sources of info as we passively sit in entrance of our televisions. We should search various information sources and evaluate their reporting to make knowledgeable judgements. We should search various views from our neighbors and household. Any efforts we put forth would require persistence. We aren’t assured success, however we’re assured of failure if we by no means strive or surrender.
Freedom IS a tough factor, and people who pay the value will not be simply the ones who’ve fought and died. Our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. It’s time to make our personal pledge to protect and defend our republic as properly – by being lively contributors – not passive observers.
We will by no means dispose of the struggling, grief and aguish so many skilled on at the present time. Nevertheless, we are able to – we should do no matter it takes to protect and defend the liberty and justice on which this nation was based. Beginning immediately, allow us to be the folks we’ve been ready for. Allow us to not merely communicate – allow us to act on our convictions. God Bless our nation and should WE be the devices of that blessing.