How To Really Support The Troops

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - November 09, 2005
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The Honolulu Chapter of the Navy League is the largest single chapter in the U.S., hovering for the last several years right around 5,000 members. On this upcoming Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Navy League will be honoring me as this year’s “Patriot of the Year.” There will be a black-tie banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, a very “personalized” program (a nice way of saying I don’t really know what to expect), and a gathering of many friends and associates, some even from out of town. Naturally, I feel very grateful, honored and humbled to be selected.


But before you think, “Gee, Coffee, why don’t you just pat yourself on the back!” let me emphasize that I’m not pointing all this out to call attention to myself, but to simply share with you - my MidWeek readers - the awesome responsibility I feel to somehow adequately represent and perhaps speak for America’s true patriots, the real “Patriots of the Year”: our military men and women currently serving our country all around the globe, but specifically - where the going is the toughest just now - in Afghanistan and Iraq.

By definition, a patriot is one who loves his/her country, and the all-volunteer members of our National Guard, reserve and active duty military are demonstrating on a daily basis their love for America, and the values of freedom and democracy which set it apart. Nobody deserves the title of “Patriot of the Year” more than these courageous young GIs who are willing to - and too frequently do - lay down their lives for their country, and for you and me.

These are really crazy, unprecedented times. “We” are fighting a full-on war against a ruthless enemy that is absolutely dedicated to our destruction. And our military men and women are making the sacrifices to win that war for our protection, yet we here at home - with the exception of those families who actually have loved ones fighting in the Middle East - are asked to sacrifice nothing in our daily lives ... oh yeah, send letters and packages, “sup-port the troops!”

Whether our national leaders ask us to or not, we should voluntarily put ourselves on a wartime footing and demand that our government leaders at all levels do the same in the government sector. We need more urgency in our move toward nuclear and renewable energy with less dependence on oil controlled by our potential enemies. A simple and efficient recycling program converting trash to energy, and even home-grown ethanol. We need to tell our congressional leaders enough already with the nice-to-have pork barrel projects so we can spend our money in really supporting our troops and our war effort. We need to embrace a less wasteful economy, from product packaging to streamlined government programs to reduce redundant and wasteful spending. We need to subordinate - for the time being - some of our ecological/environmental concerns to ensure our Hawaii-based military units have full access to the training areas which will better prepare them to protect our security wherever they may have to fight for it.


And these are only a few of the possibilities. I’m sure you can think of more.

In other words, the best way we can really “support our troops” is to help them win.

With Veterans Day is coming up on Friday, please keep in mind that our troops fighting for us overseas are all “veterans” in the making. On that day especially we need to keep them in our hearts and in our prayers, to thank God for them and what they are doing for us. We must support and encourage their families and be intolerant - yes, intolerant - of people who do the opposite.

Our troops and their families are truly the “Patriots of the Year.”

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