April 25, 2009
This week many American citizens learned yet another hard truth. This one hit very close to the heart and soul of our military. A report which surfaced from the Dept of Homeland Security, with a broad brush, cast doubt and suspicion on a very large part of the citizens of our nation.
Whether or not the report was intended for public consumption is not the issue. The very fact that the report was written, accepted as truth and released is the real issue and the result of this report has been a sucker punch to the solar plexus of the spirit of many of our bravest and most patriotic citizens, among them our military, both active duty and veterans. It was a blow they didn’t deserve.
I have watched our country become something I barely recognize, but this week was far beyond anything I have witnessed to date. I believe this report was politically motivated to chill constitutionally protected free speech and the right of assembly, in an effort to quell American discontent with this and former administrations.
Some of the American groups and individuals targeted by this report are Pro-life, border security, and gun rights supporters. Most disturbing were references to our returning military. These groups of Americans were cast into suspicion without evidence of guilt and with careless abandon.
Ultimately, the responsibility for the distribution of this report to law enforcement must reside with the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. I believe Secretary Napolitano must step down for the good of our nation, and for the moral of our military and returning veterans, both able bodied and injured, and for the families of our returning dead, who must bury their loved ones under an unfortunate and ungrateful cloud of suspicion.
Americans have been through so much since September 11th, 2001. Our military and their loved ones have been to hell and back answering the call of their president to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. The families left behind to cope and continue, have also paid a price for our security. Americans have been subjected to personal searches, loss of privacy, a need for a more watchful stance, and a Homeland Security Department created to protect and serve after the human catastrophe of 9/11.
Like all Americans, I will never forget the morning of September 11th, 2001. I was only two months shy of giving birth to a new son which, God had blessed my husband and me. It was just a normal morning. The alarm clock blared; I made coffee, woke my husband, and turned on the morning news.
It took a few minutes to come to terms with the images I was seeing on the screen and for the magnitude and repercussions of the disaster that struck our nation, on that day, to sink in and become reality.
I called my husband to come quickly and he sat next to me on the couch. We watched the terror. We watched the death and destruction and we watched the towers fall.
We sat in stunned disbelief and silence. There were no words to say.
I remember rubbing my swollen stomach and thinking that our world had just changed forever. I felt my baby kicking and thought to myself; I have one baby born in peace and soon a baby to be born in war.
And then as I sat still transfixed on the images and sounds of the death and terrorizing of my fellow citizens, my husband did something that I will never forget, and for which I will remain proud and grateful until the day I die.
He stood and very quietly walked into our bedroom and just a few moments later, came back dressed in his cammies. He never said a word and neither did I. We both understood what all of this meant and we accepted it. He sat beside me once again, pulled on his boots, leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, stood to gather his wallet and keys and went out the door to serve his country. I was awestruck by his silent bravery, his reserved determination, and his quiet dignity.
I watched my love go to war that day as did others around our nation. Men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, all got dressed, without complaint, without an urging phone call, without a hesitation, and went to serve their country. None knew what the end of that day would bring, but they went forth steadfastly.
As time went on, and a semblance of normality returned to our nation, our military carried on. Some went to other nations to fight. Some stayed in our country to support. Some left loved ones and never came home alive. Some brave young Americans joined our military after the tragedy, many of those brave men and women are in Arlington or other veteran’s cemeteries even today as I sit in my home, peacefully typing this, one of them was the twenty year old grandson of my best friend.
I don’t know if Sec Napolitano would ever understand what the morning of 9/11 felt like for me. Feeling my baby turn careless summersaults in my tightly stretched tummy and seeing my 7 year old sleeping trustingly in his bed, and knowing I would have to find a way to tell him that his little life had just been forever changed by people he would never know, was heart wrenching.
Maybe if Secretary Napolitano had ever felt the pride of a wife, just watching her husband walk through the door, and into a unknown future, in cammies, boots thumping on the cheap wooden base housing floors, perhaps she would have known better than to ever allow such a report to be written, to be circulated to law enforcement, to Americans, to our military and inadvertently because of our inter connected world, to our enemies.
Surely, she should have known this.
I wonder if she now understands that her actions must have demoralized a stressed out exhausted but still loyally fighting military force. I wonder if she understands the devastation she has caused to families like mine, who watched our loved ones walk through the door that day, into danger and uncertainty without reservation and with great responsibility to protect home, nation and family. Not with great pomp and circumstance, but quietly, humbly, each one heroic in their love of nation and their sense of duty and honor.
I don’t know if Secretary Napolitano is proud of the report her department circulated, but I am proud of my husband and our military, past and present and I am sorry if she has been misguided about the intentions of our greatest citizens and cannot appreciate their valor and loyalty.
I believe Secretary Napolitano has damaged the trust of many Americans for both her leadership and her department with a biased politically motivated report. As such, I do not believe she can effectively serve the president or the citizens of our nation. I believe her ability to lead has been permanently compromised and she must step down and allow another American to establish a better working partnership with the American people. Some things once said, cannot be unsaid.
Soldiers rarely complain when they suffer an indignity, but they hurt too, and Secretary Napolitano’s lack of even a fundamental understanding of the spirit and demeanor of our military hurt many of our bravest citizens and those who love them.
© 2009 CJ Graham – All Rights Reserved