VIRGINIA BEACH — I write this as we approach another Memorial Day, when service men and women are putting their lives on the line for all of us, and I am reminded of one thing that stays with me from my days serving aboard USS Coontz (DDG 40).
The enemies of America could not care less if I was black, white, Puerto Rican, Filipino, Hispanic, Haitian, Jew or Gentile. They could not care less if I was from Cincinnati, Ohio, or Yazoo, Miss. Whether I was a militant, a hillbilly, Republican or Democrat. All they care about is killing U.S. servicemen and women.
What does that mean to me today?
It means that my anger for the disruptive, divisive and demeaning leadership from the highest office in the land is unacceptable, and it should be to every person who has ever worn the uniform.
We have a coward serving as President. A man who, as press accounts suggest, used his daddy’s money or influence to be classified as 4-F when the nation struggled with Vietnam.
Where are all the white men who so loudly and publicly criticized and condemned the hippies of the 1960s and ’70s?
How is it that they were so patriotic then but now support a pathological liar whose only contribution to military service is to appropriate military funding on an ill-advised project he can leverage for his own political purposes?
He has never served in the Black Sea, where the Russian ships came so close we were constantly on guard against accidental collisions. Yet he acts like Putin’s best friend.
Where is the outrage from our veterans against a man who would criticize the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a Vietnam War hero who suffered in captivity for five years? A man of such courage and resolve that he refused to be released until all of his captured comrades were released, too?
What has stuck with me from my military service?
It is simply this – I did not put my life on the line for a nation so filled with greed and hypocrisy that an abomination in the White House can threaten the lives and freedom of my family without my fighting back.
I pledged to fight America’s enemies, both foreign and domestic. Every night spent at sea, every day sitting off the coast of Lebanon or standing Condition 3 steaming in the Persian Gulf or walking the mid-watch in freezing 40 miles per hour winds in Greece were served with a sense of duty, pride and purpose.
What we are going through in America in this time is critically important because we must decide if we will allow extremists to rule us or whether the Constitution, with all of its flaws, will be the guiding principle of our nation.
I am sick of the hypocrisy that has befallen us, and I will not go gently into this good night.
Our nation deserves better.
May God bless the souls of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for faith, freedom and justice.
Allen, a minister at New Hope Baptist Church, is the president of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference. For information about the conference, email firstname.lastname@example.org or search @vbimc on Facebook.
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