Editor: “The gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace,” said Patrick Henry in one of the most famous speeches in American history. Those words are as relevant and timely today as they were back in the 18th century. We all long for peace, but it is an elusive goal in a world where many are determined to disrupt the peace.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had seemed to be cooling down for a while, but now the sound of battle is growing louder again. At his recent speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump paid tribute to the widow of a young Navy SEAL who had been killed in Yemen. No one who saw that woman’s anguish so vividly on display could fail to grasp that we are still at war and that our finest young people are continuing to pay the price of defending our freedom.
It struck me that her husband had been killed by terrorists in Yemen which underscores the fact that this war is not confined to Afghanistan and Iraq. Our soldiers are active in Yemen and Syria, and only God knows where else. This is a far-flung conflict that knows no national boundaries. It is not a war of nation against nation, but rather a war of darkness against light. We are up against evil fanatics who are determined to destroy our way of life and take humanity into a new Dark Age. We dare not let them succeed. This is a grim business that will continue indefinitely.
We hope and pray our casualty lists will be small, but the wounded coming home with missing limbs and broken spirits will need our support for some time to come.
The Trump administration has repeatedly expressed support for our military, both in terms of increasing resources for the fighting troops and also for supporting our veterans, especially those who bear the scars of battle. But the Veterans Administration that bears primary responsibility for the wounded is a sprawling bureaucracy replete with waste and inefficiency. I am optimistic the new administration will make progress, and I know it is committed to doing so, but progress will not come easily or quickly. If we do not continue the pressure, it may not come at all.
In other words, we still have a lot of work to do. The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes continues to provide vitally needed support for hundreds of wounded veterans—helping them deal with post-traumatic stress which all too often leads to substance abuse, domestic strife and in some dire cases—homelessness. The need for our work is abundantly clear and will remain so for a long time to come.
David W. Walker, Leesburg
President & CEO, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes