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Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing columns on important issues for today.

Military, Veterans Deserve the Truth

November 11, 2013

There is no single statement that better sums up military service than, “All gave some; some gave all”.  Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served each of us, so we can enjoy the “blessings of liberty.”  Interestingly; very few citizens are able to pass the qualifications for military service.  Less than one percent of Americans are currently serving and approximately ten percent of citizens are veterans.  Also interestingly,  providing “for the common defense” is one of the few things the Constitution directs the federal government to provide. The United States has always been blessed with patriots willing to, as President Lincoln said; give “the last full measure of devotion”. 

During the War of Independence, Nathan Hale, on General George Washington’s request, volunteered for an intelligence gathering mission in New York City.  Many of the officers had been asked and refused to volunteer.  Hale volunteered even though he was taller than most men of his day and would stand out.  He was also just recovering from an illness and was still probably feeling somewhat weak.  If caught he would be hanged as a spy.  He knew his chances of survival were slim but the mission was critical. 

Twenty-one year old Hale was soon captured and he immediately knew his fate.  He didn’t beg for his life but requested a Bible which was denied.  Later he requested a clergyman and again was denied.  After Nathan Hale was hanged; a British officer John Montresor, under a flag of truce, relayed the account to an American officer William Hull.  Montresor told about the bravery of this young man in facing his death, how he carried himself with dignity and his bold statements of love for his country.  According to the Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, May 17, 1781, Nathan Hale said something like “I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged, that my only regret is, that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service.”  His example of bravery motivated the American soldiers and shamed the British soldiers.  The death of this one man, as the death of brave men and women tends to do, had a far greater impact on the war than if Nathan Hale had killed dozens of British soldiers.

September 11, 2012, the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya was attacked.  Four brave Americans: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed.  Two of these men, former Navy SEALS, were told not to engage.  They disregarded these orders and went to the rescue of their fellow countrymen.  Many lives were saved by the actions of these two men.  At the same time military units and commanders who had the power to intervene were ordered to stand-down.  We owe it to these brave souls, our active duty military and to our veterans to find out why our military had orders not to help.  The Congress has attempted to interview those who had “boots on the ground” in Benghazi but the Administration is frustrating this effort instead of being cooperative.  “We the people” deserve answers and our dead heroes deserve justice!   

John and Bill and Mark