SOME THOUGHTS on AUGUST 31, 2021.
I want to say the remarks which follow are more practical than political as it’s not my place to advocate or argue beyond what’s best for the veterans we serve but… this moment seems a bit different and so many of our clients ARE being impacted by events of the last couple weeks so… I’ll try to tread carefully and avoid (minimize) opinion versus geo-strategic pondering and prediction.
August 31st was a sobering milestone worthy of deep reflection and long contemplation. America “ended” our longest war. I place quotes around “ended” because the reality is that “we might be done with them, but they are certainly not done with us”. The bad guys with a brand-new base from which to launch bad things are the most obvious existential threat to Americans abroad and at home but… the second- and third-order effects of our “withdrawal” and emergency evacuation will ripple globally and there are very real and active threats looming on the horizon (or closer).
Check on your teammates – veteran or not. This is an American experience, not just a military one.
Hang tough. Be vigilant.
I lowered my flag to half-staff last week and I’ll keep it there until all our service members are laid to rest.
Any failures and shortfalls at the tactical or operational level are NOT the fault of the brave service members who served selflessly and faithfully and are each prepared to give that “last full measure of devotion” should it be required of them.
I got an email from the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (4-star) today, and the short, simple narrative was thoughtfully crafted, and I want to share an extract of those words which resonated with me: [begin quote] The past two decades have not been an easy chapter in our Nation’s history, nor has it been without setbacks and sacrifices. Despite the dangers, we have stepped forward to serve this great Nation, holding our heads high. We are forever grateful to the men and women who served in Afghanistan, and the families who supported them. We will continue to proudly wear the cloth of our nation, and remember the heroism and sacrifices made by so many. More than a generation of Americans fought so our Nation would not live in fear. We fought to bring hope and freedom to the people of Afghanistan. We fought to uphold our Nation’s values and our American way of life. We did not choose these battles, but we fought them all the same. And we never lost sight of our duty as Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen. [end quote]
These simple words should (must) be shared with every service member and veteran to comfort and to encourage and to remind them why they fought and for whom – we fought for America and for Americans.
As we reflect…
– Let us each turn our thoughts and prayers to the military members and civilians still in harm’s way around the world.
– Let us hope and pray for wisdom and insight for all our senior decision makers.
– Let us send comfort and strength to the families and friends of those lost, and wounded, and those still on watch.
– Let us be gather our resolve and be ready to defend our American values and ideals and way of life.
Freedom is not free.