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On July 24, my family said goodbye to my 18-year-old son, a United States Marine, as he departed Camp Lejuene for Iraq. This would be the first of at least two deployments he will make.
As expected, this was an emotional day. I expected sadness, but didn’t expect the many other emotions I felt that day.
I cannot put into words how proud I was. And not just of my son, but each and every one of those young men. Each has committed and endured the unthinkable while training and getting prepared for this point when they leave and go to the Middle East to do their part to keep their friends and families safe at home. They give up the comforts of home, jobs that definitely pay more and the last couple of years of being a teenager to go voluntarily and defend the United States of America.
I was also struck with a strong sense of peace that God would take care of my son. I feel, as my son does, that this is God’s will for him and therefore trust God totally that he will be taken care of. What a great assurance.
As hard as it was to see him leave, I stood there knowing that there was hope. I hoped he would be coming back soon, hoped he would be physically able to endure the heat and other environmental elements that we know they face in the Middle East deserts and I hoped he and the other members of his unit would be supported by each other and those of us here at home.
The one emotion I did not expect to experience was anger. Since Camp Lejuene is on the coast, we decided to spend a few days at the beach before returning home. When we got in the car to leave, no one really said anything. I think we were all emotionally drained.
As we rode and gathered our thoughts, the radio station playing broke through and delivered live the speech in Berlin that Barack Obama was giving. Like most Americans – I would have never heard the speech had I not been in the car at that time. I listened, thinking how ironic it was my son was leaving to defend America, and a prospective presidential candidate felt he had to travel half way around the world to gain support of Germans to become our president.
It was toward the end of his speech when the real irony came to light. With the applause of thousands of Germans in the background, Obama began, in my opinion, to belittle the United States. This is what he said:
“ . . . our cars in Boston . . . are melting the ice caps in the Artic and shrinking coast lines in the Atlantic, bringing drought to the farms in Kansas.”
In speaking about the example our country projects, he said we need to “reject torture and stand for the rule of law and we need to welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all people. I know my country has not perfected itself. At times we struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes and there are times our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.”
How dare him. This man stood there and criticized our country – the country my son is leaving home for – to gain political favor. This man wants to be my son’s commander and chief? Not by my vote. He does not deserve to be any military personnel’s commander and chief.
Commander and chief of our military is a huge part of the president’s job. Just because one does not have military experience should not keep him from being president – but feeling like you have to apologize to the world for the United States does.
My son and all the others who have gone before and are yet to go deserve a president who is proud of them and the country they make sacrifices for.
Pay attention to what this man says, what he has said, what he has done and what he hasn’t done. Don’t rely on the media to inform you.
Do a little research for yourself, for my son and all the others like him who are truly making sacrifices and stand proud for the United States of America. God bless our troops and God bless America.
Bobby Payne is a Lancaster County resident.