War is an Ugly Thing - but Not the Ugliest of Things
I organized a "Support Our Troops" on the steps of the Alaska Capitol. The weather was cold and dreary, but enthusiam was bright and cheery. Lt. Governor Leman told me the Rally was one of the best attended rallies that he had ever attended at the capitol. The following is the heartfelt speech I delivered. As a Vietnam Veteran, I know the importance of military morale.
March 28, 2003 “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS RALLY” SPEECH
On the Capitol Steps, Juneau, Alaska
Representative Bob Lynn
Governor Murkowski, Lt. Governor Leman, my colleagues in the Legislature, my fellow veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen:
"War is an ugly thing - but it is not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made so by the exertions of better men than himself."
These are the words of English philosopher John Stuart Mill, born almost 200 years ago. I first heard those words, 30 years ago, when I was serving my country in Vietnam. Those words are as relevant today as they were three decades ago.
If there’s one thing I learned in Vietnam, it’s this: there’s only one thing more important, than bombs and bullets to winning a war, whether it’s in Vietnam or Iraq – and that’s morale. It’s a direct attack on a soldier’s morale, when the terminally naïve and worse, America-haters – protest against a war a soldier is trying to win and trying to survive. When a fighting man loses his morale - he can lose his life. I’m here to tell you that it’s disheartening, and just plain dangerous, to be in a war, and not have support from the folks back home. God Bless you for being here, and witnessing your support to our troops.
All sane people pray for peace, and no one appreciates peace more than a soldier - but there are times when action is necessary, and this is one of those times. Yes, anti-war protestors have a right to protest – this is America, not Iraq. Their right to protest was bought with American blood. - but that doesn't mean the anti-war protesters are right – and that doesn’t mean they don’t damage morale, and thereby endanger our troops. Too bad the protestors don’t protest against Saddam Hussein, and endanger his troops.
We want our president, the commander-in-chief of our armed forces, and every man and woman in uniform - to know they have all the support they need from the commonsense Alaskans here at this rally to finish the job, - whether the job takes weeks, or months, or years. In the words of our president, we’ll “finish the job, as long as it takes.” War has its own schedule. It’s not instant coffee and we shouldn’t expect instant gratification.
Some of our troops have already sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom, and protect us against terrorists. Paraphrasing the words of a patriotic lady in Alabama, I can tell you something for sure – “Hanoi Jane” Fonda, Martin Sheen, Rosie O’Donnell, Susan Sarandon - and all their “sicko” friends - will never sacrifice their lives for us in Iraq, or any other place. It was not the silly seditious media stars who fought and died for us on the waters of Pearl Harbor, the shores of Iwo Jima, the bloody beaches of Normandy, the ice of Korea, the jungles of Vietnam - it was the United States Armed Forces.
We hear talk of human shields. Well, I’m here to tell you how you can identify thousands of human shields – they wear a military uniform. Our shields are the volunteer Armed Forces of the United States of America, serving in Juneau, serving in Iraq, serving every place their country sends them. The military are the brave human shields of America. They’re putting their lives on the line for us every day, and they’re marching through hell on the way to Baghdad - to shield American homes and families from Saddam Hussein, and the Iraqi component of the “Axis of Evil.”
And, if you want visit the human shields of American history - just walk through any national cemetery - and look around. There below the tombstones, row upon row, lie our fallen honorable, heroic, human shields. These fallen Americans didn't get on television and talk about being a human shield for the enemy.
I want each one of us here today to dedicate ourselves to being a human shield for all that is good about America.
Please God, help us stand up for America. Help us recognize our Blessings. Let each of us be a human shield of prayer - a shield of support for our troops, a shield for military families, and a shield for the United States of America.
God Bless America!