By Brent Budowsky - 05/18/09 04:29 PM EDT
Rolling Thunder brings together hundreds of thousands of veterans of all ages, backgrounds and political views who share a deep patriotism. Whether they ride motorcycles or wheelchairs, they are the best of America.
One can walk to the World World II Memorial, where heroes in their twilight years bring back memories of great battles for freedom where the words “All gave some, some gave all” are a living tribute to those who served from the Continental Army until today.
Many days, one can find Bob Dole at the World War II Memorial. It is inspirational to watch this American hero stand with veterans young and old, paying respect for a job well done and a cause that endures, with the old becoming young again, and the young being inspired again.
Rolling Thunder brings together a band of brothers and sisters in a communion of patriots.
Imagine if just one of the trillions of dollars spent to bail out bankers, who made fortunes while heroes gave their lives, had been spent on body armor and Humvees, whose absence caused preventable deaths and wounds. Or to improve military hospitals, whose neglect led to scandals of wounded troops.
It was not to be. Every generation makes its choices and accepts the consequences, with our conscience as our guide and history as our judge.
Now we must finish a hard and difficult mission in Iraq, with success far from guaranteed. We must succeed in an even harder and more difficult mission in Afghanistan, for which task our current resources are inadequate.
We need more helicopters and humanitarian aid. More linguists and special ops. More troops and shorter rotations. We need more aggressive efforts to end corruption among our allies in Afghanistan and more commitment of soldiers and money from our allies in NATO. We need more support for military medical research, veterans hospitals, amphibious fighting capabilities, homeless veterans and countless other needs that are necessary to prevail.
Let’s enlist all Americans by offering a Patriot Bond, similar to the old war bond, where Americans can opt in to join the cause.
When an American wearing the uniform of our nation kills five fellow GIs, it should break our hearts and stiffen our spines to do what must be done.
President Obama has spoken of “the fierce urgency of now.” Nothing is more fierce, urgent or now than our men and women facing bullets and roadside bombs as you read these words.
Whether they are warriors in combat, linguists translating overtures to insurgents, builders of schools, carers for the wounded, fighters against poppy or diplomats seeking peace, they are all part of our national band of brothers and sisters.
We were blessed to be born in the USA and our support should be fierce, urgent and now.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.