Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Letter from a friend and veteran....


With his permission, I am sharing this letter that I received from my friend today, who is a Veteran and a terrific all-around guy... I believe his words are very important for us to hear today...


Dear Friends -
Last night was truly a historic night for America and the world because no matter which side of the isle you stake your claim, WE as Americans elected OUR first African American president. I have been all over the south and stopped at many old cemeteries to see the decaying tombstones of civil war soldiers, Union and Confederate. These boys fought for a cause that few of them could truly understand but fought they did when the call came for them to serve their country. Many would say that some were on the wrong side of the war but we can not argue with service, especially when it extracts the highest cost. In many of those isolated cemeteries you will find tombstones with no name, rank or identification. It is beneath these unidentifiable graves where the greatness of America is best exhibited in the commitment of young men to a cause greater than themselves. The true cost of the Civil War will never be known but historians can document well over 500,000 deaths as a result of combat but the real cost in lives changed forever is closer to 750,000 people. The cost of this one war is greater than the cost of all of our other wars combined. Racial differences have always been a difficult topic for Americans to confront and move beyond.

In many parts of Europe lie the tombstones of young men who paid the supreme cost of freedom and found their final resting place on shores that were not their own. They died fighting for a cause the results of which they would never appreciate. It is on nights like this that I remember my father and all the men and women who served in World War II when the freedom of our nation was really at stake. I still have pictures of my father giving his food rations to French children that his unit had just liberated from the hands of the Germans. WE should all celebrate the victory of OUR country today as WE elected OUR first African American president, but most of all we should all bow our heads in honor of those who have fought and died so that all Americans could have the privilege of casting a vote in a free country.


Last night we witnessed a Tsunami of Americans under the age of 30 casting votes for an African American president. This great tidal surge began with the ultimate sacrifice paid by those young boys over a century ago who died for slaves who received only 3/5th representation in our nation’s past. It was on the backs of these slaves and through their sheer strength that the economy of the south was carried for many years. African Americans suffered greatly during the civil war and it was through the courage of a white President Lincoln that the nation was saved from destruction and he paid the ultimate cost for his courage, but the wave of change continued. It was when Barack Obama was but a six year old boy, that John McCain continued this wave of change by paying a heavy cost for freedom as a POW for a time that bridged the gap from Obama’s childhood to adolescence. John McCain’s sacrifice for freedom was given for all of us including the young man who would one day defeat him in a race for the presidency of the country that McCain had sworn to defend with his very own life.

The election of OUR first African American President is historic for all Americans because it is the culmination of the sacrifices of so many for the benefit of so few who have actually been able to ride the wave of change to the shore. Greatness always requires unrecognized sacrifice. As we all celebrate the power of the American Republic and our democratic process, let us not forget the millions of people of all races who shouldered the unstoppable wave of change we now celebrate. Many of these people never got to see this wave reach the shore and appreciate a dream fulfilled. Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination said “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we as a people, will get to the Promised Land”. Throughout history great movements of God have been borne on the shoulders of millions of unnamed individuals who saw a vision and were willing to put a cause above their own desires, safety and even their own lives. Yes WE as Americans elected OUR first African American President and he arrives on the crest of the wave buoyed by great people both known and unknown throughout our country’s history.


Just remember that the pleasure and pain centers of the brain are very close together so no matter whether you are celebrating or mourning today, just remember we are all closer together than we might realize. The truest American ideals are much bigger than any political party and require a great sacrifice by so many. So enjoy the sweet taste of victory or be consoled in your disappointment but remember that the commitments we hold dear bind us closer than the differences that separate us. I will always treasure friendships and family far more than political affiliation. When I took my oath in the US Army I made a commitment to protect and defend our great country with my very life. I was and still would gladly die for your right and the right of all Americans to cast their vote, even for people and ideas that I do not support (this has nothing to do with Barack Obama's skin tone)! The essence of a great country is when the men and women can disagree and yet serve a cause greater than ourselves.


I am proud to call you a friend and proud to be an American!

Your Friend,
Jeff Lee
US Army Veteran, owner of 3 perfect scores on the Army PT test (thanks Coach Davis ha ha), Son of a World War II Veteran and most importantly, Proud American

J/

14 comments:

Kel said...

So very true - thank you for sharing these words on such a historic occasion. Times are changing and the future looks bright.
~K

Vidal's Nest said...

I was so dissapointed Barrack won the election last night but this morning my husband helped put things into perspective by saying some of these exact same things. What a great example to so many young african americans to see that there is no limit to what they can achieve and to see how far as a country we have come. See what we have overcome.
America is great!

davidtjordan said...

Great post, Jeff. I think it's great when any young person can rise up out of whatever circumstances he or she may find his/herself in and make the most of it with nothing but hard work. This is the American Dream alright. And big government programs didn't get Obama where he is. Hard work and diligence did. I have a feeling laziness will be rewarded more and more in the coming years if his socialist programs are implemented, though.

Again, great post. Somewhat of a healing post, actually.

Krystyn said...

Thanks for sharing your friends words. They are very true.

King of New York Hacks said...

Thanks to you and your friend for putting some real words out there. Hope I'm lucky enough to pick you up while you are in NYC and of course the ride will be on the house !!

kimmy said...

What a great post and a nice letter. It is nice to see how far, we as Americans, have come!

Kimmy

Brett Elizabeth Spore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brett Elizabeth Spore said...

Awesome!

I absolutely love what he has to say and wholeheartedly agree.

Obama did not receive my vote, but he will receive my prayer support as did Bush and Clinton. Whether obama is the president I wanted in office or not, I believe God calls us to support him in prayer. Whether I agree with his policies or not, I believe I am called to pray for wisdom and direction for him. And so today, I get on my knees and pray for the future of our nation and for Obama. I do not pray fearfully but with excitement. I'm excited to see how God uses His people in this time, and I'm excited to see how God takes what the devil intended for bad and makes it good.

God bless America. The Land of the Free.
(Where I can write, "I didn't vote for him," and I won't get shot for it. :)

phd in yogurtry said...

"the commitments we hold dear bind us closer than the differences that separate us"

Excellent and accurate!

Just telling it like it is said...

I am hopeful for change...

Holly said...

Thank you for sharing this woderfully written letter - most appropriate I eneded up reading it today, on Veteran's Day.

Pigeon said...

Very moving to read. I have always voted, but this election felt so much more important to me than all the others. Thanks for posting this.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am always awed by the sacrifices the few have made for the good of the many!

I am no fan of Obama....but I do respect the democratic process.

houstonmacbro said...

Thanks for the post. I want this country to eventually get to the point where the election of any AMERICAN (black, white, gay, Hispanic, Muslim) will be commonplace and uneventful. Do you ever think we'll get to that place?