I have three thoughts to share with you.
First, I want to thank you for standing with Freedom Alliance in 2020. The pandemic caused many non-profits to shut down operations and close their doors forever. But with your help, Freedom Alliance not only survived, we were a life-changing source of support for combat veterans and military families when they needed us most.
Second, never lose faith in the country we love.
Given all that the country has been through this past year it’s only natural that we’re frustrated and emotionally exhausted. Like everybody, I was furious when I saw our U.S. Capitol overrun by an angry mob. At least two people died from the violence and others were injured. The crimes they committed are repugnant. I hope everyone who broke the law is found and held accountable.
The scene at the Capitol also reminded us of the importance of our work. We received a record number of phone calls from combat veterans whose anxiety levels spiked when they saw what was happening. Veterans experienced these same flashbacks last summer when they saw cars burned, businesses looted, and police attacked in American cities. These images reminded them of the violence they experienced in Iraq or Afghanistan.
When that happened, veterans needed to talk to people they trust, so they turned to our staff at Freedom Alliance who spent hours listening to their concerns and reassuring them. Many of these conversations are ongoing because current events have left some veterans and many citizens despondent. They’ve lost hope and are listening to reckless influencers who are selling the lie that America is finished. I don’t believe that, and I hope you don’t either.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not naïve. I’m aggravated beyond words that we’ve reached this point in our country. Too many elected officials and irresponsible actors have contributed to the distrust and cynicism that exists today.
But I recall the words of Pope John Paul II who told us, “Be not afraid.”
I believe in our Constitution, our founding documents, our history of progress, our ability to overcome adversity, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs, the generosity of average citizens, the courage of military and law enforcement, the character of the American people, and the saving grace of God.
I know that what you and I accomplish through the work of Freedom Alliance is vital. Each day, we minister to young men and women who serve our country and are willing to die for it. I once met a Marine who was burned over 80 percent of his body who told me he would do it all again if he could. I recently spoke to a young man who lost both of his legs in combat and said he considered it a great honor to serve his country. I’ve sat with college students who explain through tears and tremors that their fathers died doing what they loved – being a member of the world’s greatest military.
Combat veterans are still fighting for their lives. The children of the fallen want to ensure their parent has a place of honor in America’s history. Freedom Alliance won’t let our heroes fight alone and we won’t forget their families after they’re gone.
In fact, in less than nine months, we will mark 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9-11 when almost 3,000 of our fellow Americans were killed. Since then, nearly three million troops deployed, 7,000 never came home, and more than 50,000 returned wounded.
We haven’t forgotten them and never will. As long as we have courageous people like this who are willing to sacrifice their lives and their safety, this country is worth fighting for.
That means we’ve got work to do. Next week I’ll be in Texas to give away an all-terrain wheelchair. I just approved a record number of scholarship applications from children of fallen or wounded heroes. Hundreds of combat veterans have asked to participate in our rehabilitation events and our team is already planning them out. Dozens of military couples are hoping to participate in a Freedom Alliance retreat to keep their marriage together and we’ll ensure they get that chance.
This is just a small sample of the important goals we need to meet in the months ahead. Our fight for America begins with helping those who’ve already fought for America!
Thank you for your commitment to our nation’s veterans and military families – we’re grateful for your support.
My third and final point: Please pray.
I know that if we put our trust in God, He will continue to bless this country. Be strong. Be proud. Be not afraid.