Growing up in the 1950’s in the New York suburbs, I remember my father’s best friend.
He was a big man: to my child’s eyes, a giant. And while he was always friendly, always good-humored, I later learned he kept a secret locked deep in his heart: he had been among the first U.S. soldiers who landed in Normandy that cold rainy D-Day morning in June 1944.
He never once spoke about it, at least not in my hearing. None of them did.
They were silent. They wanted no recognition. They were just doing their job.
We call them the “Greatest Generation” for a reason.
Think of it: In 1944, 18 year olds from New Jersey, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Kansas stormed ashore in Normandy through walls of lead and freed Europe from the Nazis.
In 2016, our little snowflakes are melting on college campuses needing hot chocolate and “grief counseling” over a Donald Trump presidential victory.
I was honored to be endorsed by several veterans groups when I was the Republican nominee for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District in 2012.
In their letter, one group, the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, made it clear that they endorsed me not just because I supported reforming the Veterans administration, but because America needed leaders “at this particular time in our history when our beloved country is at risk, not only from foreign terrorists, but also from domestic advocates of extreme social and economic ‘reform’ and the weaklings who fail to confront them.”
That was four years ago. And things haven’t gotten any better — until now.
Yes, it is our duty on the home front to honor those who are putting their lives on the line to defend the those pathetic snowflakes — and the rest of us.
To their families, our brave soldiers say: wait for my return.
If you have friends who are deployed, reach out to their families, not just today, but any day. See if in some small way you can just say, “thank you”. Because those families are serving, too.
Many of these brave men and women return from the battlefield damaged, even broken. Sometimes the wounds are not obvious to the eye. But they are still very real.
Donald Trump has pledged to make our veterans whole by fixing the Veterans Administration. It’s not going to be easy. I’m sure you’ll be hearing before long fake tear-jerk stories from partisan Democrats that President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE is cutting funding for this or that vital program, or that VA hospitals aren’t getting the funds they need.
Please remember when you hear this: the media is great at producing alternate realities.
To fix the VA, we’re going to have to get rid of a lot of useless managers who have gummed up the works. It needs wholesale rebuilding. And that will take time.
So we need to be patient, and we need to be supportive. This president is going to fix the VA. I am convinced this is one of his immediate priorities.
But our veterans — just as our troops — also need something else from us on the home front: they need leadership.
And that’s what many of you did on Tuesday: you went out and did your part to bring leadership back to this country.
Without it, America flounders. With it, we can aspire once again to the greatness that fearless generations before us have shown in the face of adversity.