Monday, May 25, 2015

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? TRY THIS...

The words are a little over two years old now.  But for many, they are as fresh and as repulsive as the days they were spoken. They came during the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on May 8, 2013 spoken by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?", offered Clinton when pressed by Republican Senator Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) to explain how it was that over the course of weeks, the Obama Administration stood by an absurd story claiming that four Americans were murdered in Libya due to spontaneous protest gone bad.

The names should be of importance to us all.  They include: U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens  and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith.  Stevens was the first U.S. Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.  Several hours later, a second assault targeted a different compound about one mile away, killing two CIA contractors,  Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.

As we are in the midst of the Memorial Day Weekend, the Clinton message should be one memory that is hard to release.  And why would that be?  Because for all practical purposes, this holiday, this celebration, is about people who have made/make a difference.  Each and every day of their lives.  The other reason, Clinton has a desire to be Commander-in-Chief of those that serve. 


You can be the Difference, that's the point
To gain a better understanding, here is the truth concerning our soldiers, those difference makers, the ones Clinton was so quick to dismiss as collateral damage. 

"First, a Soldier is a Soldier for life.

It takes a profound strength to wear this nation’s uniform. Though one day they remove this uniform, no amount of time, nor strife can sever the golden thread uniting these veterans in a unique and everlasting bond.

Once a Soldier, a Soldier for Life.

This uniform has changed many times in the last 237 years. What hasn’t changed has been the determination and spiritual strength of the men and women willing to serve this nation.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, almost three million American men and women have answered our nation's call to arms – to serve their nation and do their job. Now, after 11 years of war, more that 1.3 million service men and women who deployed overseas have returned to our communities. But still, more than 720,000 veterans of all generations remain unemployed.

Those figures don't show much reward for our difference makers.   Ah, but at this point, what difference does it make, right Hillary?

A Difference Maker at work and in a little one's life
So when did the idea of honoring or servicemen and women begin? The holiday got started on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May.

Bill Cowan, a retired Marine, Fox News military analyst and founding member of the Intelligence Support Activity might have said it best when asked what Memorial Day meant to him:

"Like all veterans, my memories are filled this Memorial Day with endless instances of pride at being able to serve this great country of ours – pride at being an American and even more pride at having been able to wear the uniform.
Of my many memories, over 60 years’ worth, none is more striking than that of a dusty afternoon in 2008 in a bombed out building in Sadr City, Baghdad.  It wasn’t about my own service.  It was about someone else’s.

I was accompanying my friend Aaron Tippin, a country music legend, as he visited and entertained troops during the Thanksgiving season.  It was an annual event for him during the war and I was often fortunate enough to accompany him.  On this particular afternoon, at one of many stops, we were at a Forward Operating Base with a battalion of the storied 82nd Airborne Division.

The scene was literally out of a Hollywood movie – a bombed out building in the midst of a crowded commercial neighborhood.  The inside of the building was dark and dusty, with shards of light darting through the holes in the outer walls.  In the quietness of the rotunda, some troops were coming in from patrols while others were preparing to go out.  Others still gathered around a small stage which had been set up for Aaron to perform, eager to listen to songs which many of them were quite familiar with.

We were an anomaly in the midst of a chaotic, dangerous war.  The building, reminiscent to me of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, was home to the battalion while they worked and fought in one of the toughest areas of Iraq at the time – Sadr City: home to the Shiite militias.

We learned shortly after arriving that only a few days previously one of the battalion’s squads had been ambushed on a nearby street.  Three soldiers were killed in the initial fight and others were gravely wounded. The engagement had raged briefly while a reaction team was sent to provide support.  Even the local lraqi police unit, with whom the battalion had been working and training, rushed to help.  Over in just minutes, the battle had taken its toll on the battalion.  Here at Thanksgiving, they were still bearing the grief of loss.

As Aaron finished singing, the battalion commander asked if we could stay long enough to see one of his soldiers re-enlist in the Army.  The Command Sergeant Major brought the young man forward and introduced him.  He was a kid-faced Specialist, and in the hazy light I could see that he was dark skinned, possibly a Native American.

To my amazement, he was a member of the squad that had been in the costly battle just days earlier.  He had seen war at its very worst, lost fellow brothers in combat, his Army time was up and he could go home in time for Christmas, and here he was asking to stay in and extend his commitment to the Army – and to America.

We stood there quietly, watching the young man swear the oath of office and commit to four more years in the Army, surrounded as he was by his friends and comrades.  At that moment, forever seared in my memory, I realized I was witnessing America at its absolute best – selfless dedication and undaunted courage in the name of America.

All of us who have served have pride at having had the opportunity to do so.  And I was proud to be there and witness a moment which reminded me in such glaring terms of the greatness of our country and the men and women who serve.  I am indeed proud to be an American".

As we are in the midst of the Memorial Day Weekend, this should be one memory that is hard to release.  And why would that be?  Because for all practical purposes, this holiday, this celebration, is about people who have made/make a difference.  Each and every day of their lives. 

At this point.....this is the difference that can be made.  People.  One's committed to something more than their pocketbook or ego.  Make a memory this Memorial Day weekend and thank someone for their service.  See if that doesn't make a difference.....for you and for them.  And while you're at it, say a prayer for Hillary.  Perhaps she'll get the point.

YGG,

John

Meantime watch over others, as well as yourselves, and give them such help as their various needs require.  For instance, Some, that are wavering in judgment, staggered by others' or by their own evil reasoning, endeavour more deeply to convince of the whole truth as it is in Jesus. Some snatch, with a swift and strong hand, out of the fire of sin and temptation.  On others show compassion in a milder and gentler way; though still with a jealous fear, lest yourselves be infected with the disease you endeavour to cure.  See, therefore, that while you love the sinners, ye retain the utmost abhorrence of their sins, and of any the least degree of, or approach to, them.-Jude 1:22
 


 
 


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