My Memorial Day Reflections
I was up at 0400 yesterday morning to catch a 0630 flight to JFK to take some meetings this week with Maxim magazine and USAA. SOFREP will be formally partnering with Maxim as a military content provider, I’m excited to build this relationship and also grateful to have such an incredible partner in USAA.
As I pulled into the airport parking lot, I drove down to the fence, and parked. The drive to the airport in San Diego is one I’ve made a hundred times, but when I finally stopped the jeep and disengaged my internal autopilot (the one that got me there without much recollection), it hit me like an explosive concussion. A few yards to my right, in this same parking lot last September, was where I learned, with a single text message, that my best friend Glen Doherty was gone from my life. I glanced over and tried to hold back the emotions, but they just overcame me, and there was nothing I could do about it. It actually felt good to grieve a bit more. Anyone who’s lost someone special knows what I’m talking about.
I’m a better man for having known men like Glen Doherty, Chris Kyle, John Zinn, and the other teammates I’ve lost since February 1998.
Politics & The VA
It disturbs me that Glen was paraded around on the Presidential stage purely for political gain during the Presidential elections. Worse is that the same government paid only a few thousand dollars (I’m not even sure if it was that much) long after the bills for his memorial had piled up. His friends, RCF, and fellow citizen donors rallied, and we took care of it. However, it still bothers me that the government left his estate in the lurch.
To my knowledge, the Department of Veterans Affairs has still not paid out a death benefit of any sort to his estate. Yes, there’s some good people VA doing good work, but the bureaucracy, and waste that exists in this organization needs to change. We’ve done some work in the past at SOFREP to point this out, and actually called for the resignation of its head, Eric Shinseki.
What really bothers me is that we’ve lost so many good men and women in uniform since September 11th, 2001, and I believe in my heart that they would like to know that America is now a better place for their efforts. The problem is, I’m not sure this is the case. We have massive waste in Washington, entrenched career politicians who are out of touch with their citizenry, a two party system that forces people into a red or blue box, and our own government spying on the press and its own citizens in the name of “protecting the state.” And these are just a few of the problems that come to mind.
It really fires me up to think about it. So the Editors and I at SOFREP will continue to do what we do in order to keep the Veteran perspective alive in the media. I’m also thankful there are good people in this country, like my friend Jeremy Scahill, who are not afraid to shine a light into the darkness to affect positive change.
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” -Mark Twain
America is still a great country, but it’s up to all of us to make a choice to be a part of the problem or the solution. You can sit on the sidelines and complain about how bad things are getting, or you can start making a difference for the positive, and do this however you can.
I choose the latter because my friends who are my heroes demand it, and deserve it.
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Main Photo: Glen Doherty with team NIXON in Fiji