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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cory Remsburg and the American Spirit -- By Captain Jordan A. Blashek, USMC

Cory RemsburgThe highlight of the State of the Union (SOTU) address was the story of Cory Remsburg, an Army ranger severely injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. At the end of the speech, the president held him up as a symbol of America's perseverance. To thunderous applause, Cory slowly rose to his feet and gave the crowd a thumbs-up. Not surprisingly, a perpetually divided Congress stood united for nearly two minutes in recognition of Cory's heroic recovery. 

Nor is it surprising that in the aftermath of the speech that questions have been raised about the appropriateness of the president using Cory's story. For many on the left, that question alone is offensive -- reflecting at best a misunderstanding of Obama's intentions and at worst an automatic hostility to anything he does. But I understand why others might think it was inappropriate. It was a political speech. The president criticized Republicans on multiple occasions and touted his own policies for improving the country. He finished by exhorting Americans to unite behind his vision, while in the same breath asking us to follow Cory's example of perseverance.

Ultimately though, I don't think the president's political intentions matter. Americans needed to hear Cory's story because we desperately want to be inspired right now. For the past week, commentators have lamented the degeneration of the SOTU into a political spectacle no one cares about. But Americans are still looking for genuine signs that the "State of the Union" is strong. Our military veterans give us that. We look to their courage and sense of duty for proof that the indomitable American spirit still exists.

But when the military looks back on American society, we don't receive the same moral strength or sense of purpose from the country. We see an America that is ambivalent about its role in the world, and detached from the wars of the last decade. We see a crisis of confidence and a general pessimism about the future. Yet, the military community needs Americans to believe in their country so we can believe that our sacrifices have meaning.

With the recent fall of Fallujah to an al Qaeda affiliate and the impending withdrawal from Afghanistan, there are growing concerns that the last twelve years of war were in vain. No one has been more deeply affected by this than the veterans that fought in those streets, losing friends and limbs to secure two theaters of war for their people. As veterans struggle to come to terms with what was it all for, neither the American people nor its leadership have stepped into the void to give that answer. In fact, the opposite is true -- as the questions grow, the country is looking to the military for reassurance that the sacrifices weren't meaningless.

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