These are America’s true heroes. Not the sports figures, celebrities or politicians.
These are America’s true heroes. Not the sports figures, celebrities or politicians.
As Morris Udall, a long-serving Democratic Representative from Arizona, like John McCain, lay dying from Parkinson’s disease in a veterans hospital in Northeast Washington, one man would stop by to pay his respects on a regular basis:
Udall is seldom conscious, and even then he shows no sign of recognition. McCain brings with him a stack of newspaper clips on Udall’s favorite subjects: local politics in Arizona, environmental legislation, Native American land disputes, subjects in which McCain initially had no particular interest himself. Now, when the Republican senator from Arizona takes the floor on behalf of Native Americans, or when he writes an op-ed piece arguing that the Republican Party embrace environmentalism, or when the polls show once again that he is Arizona’s most popular politician, he remains aware of his debt to Arizona’s most influential Democrat.
. . . .
A nurse entered and seemed surprised to find anyone there, and it wasn’t long before I found out why: Almost no one visits anymore. In his time, which was not very long ago, Mo Udall was one of the most-sought-after men in the Democratic Party. Yet as he dies in a veterans hospital a few miles from the Capitol, he is visited regularly only by a single old political friend, John McCain. “He’s not going to wake up this time,” McCain said.
There is a term we Jews have for the type of man who does what John McCain did: mensch. I can still remember when my Dad first used the term and I asked him what it meant. It was the best compliment you could pay to a person, a fully realized human being.
Earlier today, Republican presidential nominee John McCain in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, mentioned openly gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham in his statement commemorating the day
No American living then should ever forget the heroism that occurred in the skies above this field on September 11, 2001. It is believed that the terrorists on United Flight 93 may have intended to crash the airplane into the United States Capitol. Hundreds if not thousands of people would have been at work in that building when that fateful moment occurred, and been destroyed along with a beautiful symbol of our freedom. They and, very possibly I, owe our lives to the passengers who summoned the courage and love necessary to deny our depraved and hateful enemies their terrible triumph.
I have witnessed great courage and sacrifice for America’s sake, but none greater than the sacrifice of those good people who grasped the gravity of the moment, understood the threat, and decided to fight back at the cost of their lives.
I spoke at the memorial service for one of them, Mark Bingham. I acknowledged that few of us could say we loved our country as well as he and all the heroes of September 11 had. The only means we possess to thank them is to try to be as good an American as they were. We might fall well short of their standard, but there is honor in the effort.
In the Gospel of John it is written, ‘Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ Such was their love; a love so sublime that only God’s love surpasses it. I am in awe of it as much as I am in debt to it. May God bless their souls.
“The U.S. Army has provided me such a wonderful opportunity to realize my dreams to go to college and see parts of the world that I had only read about in schoolbooks. I’ve been to countries that many only dream about. Walked the streets of Europe: Paris, Greece, Spain, Germany, England, Italy, Czech Republic. I’ve seen Asia, South America, and, of course, the Middle East. . . . As you know I’ve been raised in the Church and have always had a love, reverence, and fascination for God. I am blessed to be saved by His grace, and so I know that I am going up yonder to be with my Lord. Please tell those who remain not to grieve too much but to have a big party and celebrate. . . . My only regret is that I have never found that special one to grow old with and watch the sunset with.” — US Army Major Alan G. Rogers.Â KilledÂ in actionÂ – Jan. 27, 2008.
I am posting this after just reading a lengthy story about Major Rogers in the August 4 edition of The New Yorker.Â It is a very moving piece and I’mÂ thrilled that the reporter, Ben McGrath, took the time to learn all of the aspects of Major Rogers’ life, friends and personal struggles.Â
I was made aware of Rogers’ sexual orientation shortly after his death and I struggled how to report on it at the time.Â I think it is much more appropriate that McGrath’s profile puts some time between Rogers’ death.Â Most importantly,Â the articleÂ doesn’t just focus on one aspect of what made Major Rogers a special man.
The words I have quoted at the topÂ are Rogers’ own from an unfinished letter he was writing to the executor of his will.
I urge you to read the entire article.Â Rogers was a very complex man who served this country honorably and was by all definition a true American hero and patriot.
Also, please stop by his remembrance page at the Washington Post’s Legacy.com site.Â If you have any doubt how this man impacted those he knew, and those of us he protected, just read the tributes to him.
[RELATED STORY – Remembering Alan Rogers on Memorial Day – GayPatriotWest]
Not that it is a major surprise, but noteworth nonetheless.Â Â I’m hoping John (AvgGayJoe) may have some thoughts on this letter, released earlier today.
As retired military officers, we share a natural hesitancy to engage actively in politics. There is a healthy discomfort in our profession with any political involvement because the country rightly depends on our military to support any commander in chief with our best military advice and our actions. But two factors compel us to speak out now and openly support John McCain for President: first, the surprising and inaccurate questioning of his record by some of Senator Obama’s leading supporters; and second, the importance to our national security of winning the war we are fighting.
The United States is confronted by many threats to its security and prosperity. Most significantly, we are engaged in a broad conflict with Islamic extremism against enemies espousing the same radical and violent ideology whose full dimensions the American people first glimpsed on September 11, 2001. Success in this war will require not only victory in the “hot” conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but as well a balanced and integrated application of all elements of America’s national power as we work with our allies around the world to marginalize radicals and build a shared vision for peace with moderate Islam.
We are privileged to have had the opportunity to serve this country in uniform for most of our adult lives. We have had the honor of commanding young Americans of the same caliber and tenacity as those who today remain on the front lines, willingly sacrificing their own well-being and security and offering their lives in order to preserve our freedom. They deserve, and the American people demand, leadership of proven character — leadership that will always put America’s interests ahead of personal gain and political party.
It is our experience as former senior military officers that also gives us great concern about certain foreign policy positions staked out by Senator Obama. We are acutely aware that ill-conceived policies will have serious, if not tragic, consequences for military commanders, the troops they lead, and the nation. We are particularly concerned about his public statements, including his call for a withdrawal from Iraq, unconditional talks with the leaders of rogue states, and the return to a law-enforcement approach to protecting our country from terrorists.
This country has learned the peril of treating terrorists and their state sponsors as little more than a law enforcement problem. We are unanimous in our view that the failures of the past should not be repeated, and we believe that John McCain’s long record of national service, and his demonstrated judgment on matters of national security, make clear who can best defend this country abroad, and assure peace and prosperity at home.
Through a lifetime of service in uniform and in Congress, John McCain has consistently displayed the wisdom and courage to do the right thing for America regardless of the cost to him personally. It is for this reason, above all others, that we endorse John McCain for President, and it is for this reason that we stand with him now as he continues his long history of service to this country.
James B. Davis, General, USAF (RET.)
Ronald J. Hays, Admiral, USN (RET)
James L. Holloway, Admiral, USN (RET)
Jerome L. Johnson, Admiral, USN, (RET)
P.X. Kelley, General, USMC, (RET)
James J. Lindsay, General, USA (RET)
John Michael Loh, General, USAF, (RET)
Leighton W. Smith, Admiral, USN (RET)
Carl Stiner, General, USA (RET)
Donald C. “Deese” Thompson, Vice Admiral, USCG, (RET)
Howard B. Thorsen, Vice Admiral, USCG, (RET)
Balance this list with Obama’s key military supporter:Â Douglas MacArthur Wesley Clark.
In my humble opinion, Tony Snow had as much — if not more — impact on the American political landscape as Tim Russert.Â Both were kind, big-hearted family men with a unbridledÂ passion for the country they lived in and tried to make a better place from their positions of influence.Â
One was a life-longÂ liberal (Russert)Â and received the lion’s share of fawning media coverage from the entire MSM establishmentÂ upon his death; the other a reformed liberal-turned-conservative (Snow)Â and the newspapers,Â cable networks and rest of the MSM nearly overlooked his passing this weekend.
But Tony Snow achieved something few others in American politics ever will — he was bothÂ in and out of journalism and was at the highest position of government public affairs:Â White House Press Secretary.Â Had cancer not taken him away from that job, I believe Snow would have re-set the standard for WH Press Secretary in the model of Jim Brady & Larry Speakes — and away from the Mike McCurry and Scott McClellan model.Â I will leave you to compare the differences.
I once had dinner with Tony Snow.Â Â He never knew it of course, as my table was next to his at a local hangout in Alexandria, VA called Bilbo Baggins.Â But I remember feeling like I was in the company of a just a normal (and very tall!) guyÂ and his wife and friends even though I knew he was one of the “biggies” in American journalism at the time.
The differences between Tim Russert and Tony Snow are many, including how the MSM handled each death much differently.Â In my mind, a key difference is that we all probably completely understand what we lost in Russert’sÂ premature death; but few people outside of the FOX family and those in the White House staff willÂ fully appreciate what future voidÂ Tony Snow’sÂ death is to our nation and its public discourse.
Tony Snow, RIP.
[RELATED STORY: The Character of Optimism – Bill Kristol, The New York Times]
I have always thought that the real measure of someone’s attitude toward gay people was not whether he supports the legislative agenda of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) or mouths the appropriate political correct slogans of gay activists, but how he treats individual gay men and lesbians.
John McCain has a long record of treating individual gay men not just fairly, but also with class and honor. We saw that most recently on the Ellen DeGeneres Show where he respectfully handled the eponymous hostess’s questions on gay marriage and as he wished her “every happiness” in her relationship with Portia de Rossi.
That wasn’t the first time he showed class via-Ã -vis a gay person. In September 2001, he flew from Washington to attend a memorial service at the University of California/Berkeley for Mark Bingham, a gay man and one of the heroes of United Flight 93. Along with his fellow passengers on that doomed plane, Bingham stormed the cockpit, preventing it from being used as a missile to destroy either the U.S. Capitol .
This was not the first time Bingham had risked his life for others.
Speaking at this hero’s funeral, John McCain recalled Bingham’s support for his 2000 White House bid and cited the Gospel of John in praising him for laying down his life for his fellows, calling it, “A love so sublime that only God’s love surpasses it.” He added:
I never knew Mark Bingham. But I wish I had. I know he was a good son and friend, a good rugby player, a good American, and an extraordinary human being. He supported me, and his support now ranks among the greatest honors of my life. I wish I had known before September 11th just how great an honor his trust in me was. I wish I could have thanked him for it more profusely than time and circumstances allowed. But I know it now. And I thank him with the only means I possess, by being as good an American as he was.
While John McCain may be far from perfect on gay and other issues, we do know him to be a man of honor. He treats men and women fairly.
His attendance at the funeral of Mark Bingham as well as his eulogy for that great American shows, he honors the service and sacrifice of our heroes — regardless of their sexual orientation.
We are pleased an honored at GayPatriot to be a small part of a large event today — a groundbreaking live, internet telethon that directly benefits US military members and their families.Â “From The Frontlines” begins broadcasting right here at 4PM Eastern time.Â Â
This special broadcast will be co-hosted by radio personality and Move America Forward Chairman Melanie Morgan and blogger-extraordinaire Michelle Malkin and will feature national radio powerhouses Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura Schlessigner, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, NBC’s â€œAmerica’s Favorite Momâ€ Patti Patton-Bader, reports from our military men and women on the frontlines of Iraq & Afghanistan, music, stars of stage and screen, and many MANY other special guests.
The historic telethon is being organized by Move America Forward, the nation’s largest pro-troop organization. Move America Forward has shipped over 40 TONS of care packages to our troops filled with food for their enjoyment, other necessities and message of appreciation and encouragement from home. Now we’re doing one better by sending over the largest shipment of care packages to our troops in American history.
These care packages will be sponsored by pledges made by viewers during the â€œFrom the Frontlinesâ€ telethon, and shipped by Move America Forward just in time for the 4th of July holiday. Our troops will receive these special 4th of July care packages, crammed with all kinds of items for their personal care and comfort, just as Americans stateside are celebrating the freedoms and liberties made possible thanks to the service and sacrifice of our noble service men and women.
I’m sitting in the Frankfurt Airport (4:30 AM Eastern Time) waiting for my flight to board.Â I have been in Germany since February 23.Â It was a combo work/leisure vacation as I spent a lot of time catching up on work-related projects and emails.Â
I first traveled through Germany 20 years ago when I was a sophomore in college.Â It was one of those “New Day, New City” tours with my former high school’s Senior Trip.Â Twenty years ago, we were in WEST Germany… and I remember the country being much more “cold” than now.Â
The past few days I have found the German people extremely friendly, very open and much more happy than I recall in late 1980s.Â I guess the fall of Communism has something to do with that, no?
Yesterday, John and I spent most of the day at the Dachau Concentration Camp outside Munich.Â Needless to say, it is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life.Â And yet, I only witnessed the sanitized shell of the hell that was systemized at that first Hitler death camp.Â Â Every student across the globe should be made to spend a day at Dachau before they graduate high school.
New prisoners had to walk through the gates of Dachau which read “Through Work Brings Freedom.”Â Another of Hitler’s lies of propaganda.
The rest of the photos are self-explanatory.
I choked up when I saw this plaque and the video scenes of the US Army liberating the near-dead camp survivors on April 29, 1945.Â Â It is no wonder we call them “The Greatest Generation.”
I will post more pictures of the trip this week as well.
For now, guten tag…. and hello America, here I come!