As John reports below and Ed Morrissey reports here, tonight’s Vets for Freedom National Herooes Tour rally at Fort Snelling was special. (Check out Vets for Freedom here; support the tour here.) Have Americans who have already served and sacrificed ever had to rally support at home on behalf of their colleagues still in harm’s way to let them win? Shouldn’t those of us who benefit from their service be rallying to support their morale and their cause?
It was in any event both thrilling and humbling to be in the company of men whose courage and heroism have set such a high standard for their generation of young Americans and for those of us who can do little more than express our gratitude. Perhaps most striking was David Bellavia, who complained of feeling like a chicken McNugget, alluding to the size of the crowd and the heat generated in the room. He concluded his remarks with the aspiration that he make a joyful noise in memory of those who have given the last full measure and that their sacrifice not be rendered meaningless.
Let it be noted that among those in attendance tonight were Minnesota Vets for Freedom chapter head Michael Bauman, Minnesota Second District Rep. John Kline, Gold Star Mother Merilee Carlson (son Michael Carlson who lives on in his credo, was killed in Iraq in January 2005), Colonel Joe Repya (veteran of Vietnam and the two Iraq wars) and his wife Deb, and Sergeant David Thul of the Minnesota National Guard unit that served 16 months in Iraq.
The National Heroes Tour is led by home town hero Pete Hegseth, alumnus of Forest Lake High School and Princeton University. Not by design, the courage of Pete and company contrasted cruelly with the faint heart displayed today by Forest Lake High School principal Steve Massey. Massey quailed at the thought of a protest on school grounds. After reportedly receiving roughly two dozen phone calls and e-mails “from people opposed to the visit” (a bit vague, but good enough for the Star Tribune), Massey was inspired to cancel the tour’s scheduled visit with the high school’s social studies students. The photo above depicts the VFF National Heroes Tour crew with Minnesota Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachman at the hastily scheduled Forest Lake American Legion stop in lieu of the cancelled high school visit this morning.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill