Good Saturday to y’all!
This will be a short, reflective, missive for you to ponder. If there was a “Man on the Street” interview, and Americans from all across the country were to be asked, “What is the greatness of America?” what do you think the response would be? I am quite sure that from region to region, across our nation, the responses would differ.
How would I respond? I am gonna tell ya:
For the past three years, since coming to Texas, I have been honored to speak for the Combat Marine Outdoors Gala event in Waco, TX, at McLane Stadium, on the campus of Baylor University, beautifully sitting on the banks of the Brazos River. Of course you float on down the Brazos a bit, you will come to “Washington on the Brazos” where Texas’ Declaration of Independence was drafted, and signed, on March 2, 1836.
For me, each of these years, I get to have a great evening with that which is the essence of the “Greatness of America” — men who bear the scars of defending our nation. For me, the sad reality that, on average, each day, we lose 20-22 of our brave veterans to suicide, is a national disgrace. These men and women, indeed, represent that singular greatness of America, the land that God has so blessed us with. The fact that, since April 19, 1775, the Battle of Lexington Green, we have, and always will, men and women ready, willing, and able to stand, and sacrifice to secure the blessings of Liberty that this nation, America, affords is the greatness of America. It is not for a king, not for riches — trust me on that one — it is not for fame that they do such. It is for something as simple as Duty, Honor, and Country, to support and defend our rule of law.
And so we gathered there with these combat Marines (the Marines want us around to make them look purdy), and soldiers . We were there honoring those who were willing to make the last full measure of devotion, and remember those who had. We had a World War II Marine and a Chosin Reservoir survivor, along with those who have fought on the recent battlefields on Iraq and Afghanistan. One thing binds them together, a special Brotherhood, the Purple Heart.
I ask y’all reading this missive: why must we have Galas, and events, to raise funds to support those who are the greatest amongst us? I find it rather perplexing — no disconcerting — that we have a government that will give $568.7M to an organization founded by a white supremacist, and racist, whose purpose was to murder unborn babies. I would hope that you would also be incensed that we once had a president who sent pallets of laundered cash, numbering in billions of dollars, in an unmarked aircraft, in the middle of the night to the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, Iran. It’s this same Iran who developed the lethal explosive force penetrator (EFP), improvised explosive device that caused 18-20% of the deaths, and injuries, perhaps to some of the very men I was with Thursday evening, like Zach, who lost both legs above the knee.
But, it was not just Thursday night, but it was yesterday, Friday, where the greatness of America shined just as bright as the Texas sun. Thanks to some wonderful benefactors in Bosque County, owners of the Serenity Ranch, Mark and Jacqueline, we all gathered there for a day of fun and competitive shooting. It was there that the smiles shined brilliant, like the stars at night in a Texas sky. It was there that the jokes, and the stories ran rampant, like tall tales around a Texas campfire. It was there that the true greatness of America — Marines, soldiers, and first responders from local law enforcement, and DEA agents — was evidenced to all, especially to me.
The day was blazing hot, but not as hot as Kandahar, Afghanistan. We fired a plethora of weapons. Why? Because we are the fellas, who like the Minutemen of April 19th 1775, have stood to protect the Second Amendment, the guardian individual right of all our liberties. We tested our skills, as we know that within us pumps a heart that is ready, willing, and still able, to honor our forever oath.The greatness of America ain't in politicians, the whiny kids on college campuses who want safe spaces and socialism. The greatness of America is not within media, entertainment, & sports figures who are grossly overpaid. Click To Tweet
This was the first year that I was able to stay around and enjoy the shooting day with these warriors. And, I needed that day maybe more than those men did. I was reminded of what it meant to be a soldier, because I was around warriors. The greatness of America ain’t in politicians, the whiny kids on college campuses who want safe spaces and socialism. The greatness of America is not within media, entertainment, and sports figures who are grossly overpaid. The greatness of America is not with those who seek to undermine, and divide, this impeccable nation.
Nope, the greatness of America is in watching a double amputee warrior jump in a massive American flag, on a very windy day. It is in watching a Korean War Veteran fire a vintage M1 Garand, just like the one he had at Chosin Reservoir. It is watching a young man prop himself up in his wheelchair during a handgun shooting competition. It is in watching those who have served to protect us being loved by those who they protected and defended. It is in watching a man bid $20K on a specialized rifle, and then freely give it away to a Combat Wounded Marine Recon Major — didn’t need any damn background check!
I want to thank the men of Combat Marine Outdoors: y’all reminded me — and all of us — what the true Greatness of America is.
Let me close with the 272 words that embody the Greatness of America, from November 1863, Gettysburg, PA:
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
— President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.