11 Aug Washington DC – Real Heroes in a City of Cowards
This was written months ago. The mess in Washington has driven me to publish this so after months of no blogs this goes out. Please pass this along to everyone and email to your Congressmen and the President it is a message they need to hear for all of our sake no matter which end of the political spectrum you believe in.
I haven’t felt like writing for the last couple of months so I just stopped. I am on the to and from plane with my youngest son Chase headed to Washington DC. Something about sitting on a plane and having nothing to do makes open my IPad and just start typing.
Chase and I are on a mission. One that has been planned delayed and replanned and today it is finally launched. We have printed maps, written letters are on a schedule and have a rendezvous point. Chase has scouted out places he wants to visit. We have many details of what we will be doing and many gaps of how we will be getting from one point to another.
It almost sounds like we are on a military mission, and in fact we are. Chase is in for a real lesson in life. He will participate in a living history lesson, with a group of people who are real heroes in a city of cowards.
I know that is a strong statement to make but I’ll stand by it and I believe most of you will agree with it as soon as I tell you what our mission is.
We are headed to meet my Dad and a plane load of his fellow World War 2 veterans on their military honor flight to Washington DC.
These are real Heroes. They were willing to die for this country, die to free others from the horrors of war, and for most of them they were willing to die fighting while in control of their lives rather than live under the tyranny of fascism or the brutality of the Japanese.
The war ended but the feelings didn’t. After reading all words at the various war monuments and seeing a new name added to Vietnam memorial I realize and saw the raw emotion that lives in a veteran and their family forever.
I have the highest respect for these veterans. For many of them this trip will release that raw emotion as a tornado in their minds as the memories, sights and smells of the terror and fear that they survived will be revisited, some for the first time in over 72 years.
But there will be one important redeeming thing for them to take to their grave and sadly over 900 of these heroes die daily and one day soon none of them will be around. At least they will know their courage and unselfish actions will not be forgotten by the thousands of people who send them off to cheers when their flights leave home, or when they get a surprise mail call on the plane to Washington and open up letters of appreciation from friends, strangers, and family, or when they land to more people, young and old waving American flags to which many of their friends died or were maimed defending, or once again when they have a police escort thru the streets of DC to leave for home. It doesn’t stop there; with cheering crowds of all ages at the airport on their departure from DC and arrival home back in Vegas.
Chase got a lesson in life that will probably be as valuable as his education at school, as he helped push a veteran friend of my dad in a wheelchair up the hill to the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington National Cemetery. In fact Chase’s personal lesson started 2 weeks ago when he personally felt the impact of our government for the first time, when he wanted to practice target shooting (he just earned his hunter gun safety certificate in preparation of going turkey hunting). He could not target shoot because there are no bullets available to buy because of all the gun regulation noise in Washington.
Now Chase is spending a day with these veterans who saved our country because ordinary citizens worked together doing metal scrap drives so they had brass for bullets, grew vegetables in victory gardens, and donate clothing so that soldiers on the front would not freeze. At 14 1/2 his first experience with the irony of our government, once able to protect us now incapable of governing us.
But Chase will also experience an exceeding powerful force – that of the human spirit. He heard many stories of bravery. Many stories of hard decisions and unparalleled leadership where there was no good choice. And sadly many stories of brothers, sons, daughters, and fathers who never made it home or did missing a leg, arm, or with some other terrible physical or mental injury.
I pray Chase’s generation does not pay too large a price as those values are lost, societies social and economic problems are kicked down the road by politicians on the right, left, and center who’s only fear is they will offend a special interest group and dry up a source of campaign funds. After seeing the breath of the security on the streets in Washington the last 3 days I have ask who are our politicians really afraid of? Is it one day they will have to face a mob and the wrath of ordinary citizen’s?
He will realize that it doesn’t have to be that way if our politicians would learn from these veterans what working for a common good can achieve, how running head on at a blazing machine gun or a difficult problem can still bring victory, and the power of true leadership to unlock the hidden potential in all of us and solve tough issues and clutch victory from the jaws of defeat like the veterans on this honor flight.
My dad was 15 1/2 when he enlisted a little runt who lied about his age to get in the Navy. While in the Navy he went out drinking one night and woke up the next day with a napkin on a sore arm, covering a nice navy ship tattoo. Today it’s faded but his drive and enthusiasm are on overdrive. His passion to live life to its fullest is amazing, shining like a blinding light considering all he has been thru.
Chase also got to see his grandfather in action. My dad loves to talk and meet people. Chase and I are siting with him in the hotel bar watching the Bulls playoff game. We turn our back and my dad is yelling hiLieutenant Colonel across the bar to a man dressed in a flight jump suit, under our breath we mumble how does he know his rank? Amazingly he was a Lieutenant Colonel! The pilot of B1 bomber crew who just flew in from Afghanistan and now the whole crew was talking to my dad as they did shots of tequila together. He stayed up with them until 2:30am while Chase and I headed to bed at midnight.
It is a special trip; all I can say is how lucky Chase and I are to have participated. A day I had to wipe the tears from my eyes more than once. Thank you Nevada vets, all the volunteers, donors and a special thank you to the millions of soldiers who put this country first, as you leave you can all be proud you are truly deserving Heroes in a City of Cowards.