A couple days ago, I was looking through some pictures from my Marine Corps days. Jeez did I look like a kid. That's when it hit me: our nation is protected by a bunch of men that look like kids.
What really got me thinking about it was watching some ESPN highlights during lunch. Have you ever noticed that even college football players look like men? They're huge and a lot of them are only 18! That's what I thought I'd find when I went into the Corps, but the opposite is true.
Most of us are of average height and average build. The guys that look like "The Swede" in Heartbreak Ridge wouldn't be able to stay within weight standards.
So what's that special gift? If a kid can't bench 500-lbs or kill a man by crushing his skull with his bare hands, what makes a hero?
It's heart. It's courage. It's grit. It's loyalty. It's kindness.
The United States military is comprised 99.99% with normal kids doing extraordinary things. Whoever says this country is dying only needs to look at them. They are the shining example of what Americans should be. Brothers 'til the end.
So today, as you're going about your day, trying to ignore the crappy news, thinking about what to eat for dinner, remember those baby-faced men who are out there on the front lines defending our freedom. I don't know about you, but I'd take a scrappy kid from the Louisiana bayou over a NFL wide-out any day.
I may have a couple drinks for them tonight.
Who's with me?
Don't ignore what's going on around the world. Washington needs to take a page out of the military playbook
I hope you're keeping up with the news.
I hope you're getting the real scoop.
I hope you're seeing what a lot of other Americans aren't seeing.
There's a growing list of raging hotspots around the world: Libya, Egypt, Iran, Israel and Spain...and that was only on my two minute scan of tops headlines this morning! Funny thing is, peruse the national TV networks, and it's all fluff. Is ignorance really bliss??
Our President was elected four years ago on a platform of change. Well, we've seen things change alright! In that time we've seen our national debt balloon, our credibility and strength in the international community fall, and the divide amongst American grow.
Despite what our politicians say, it is possible to work together. Take a look at the military. How do we do it? Each branch of the Armed Services is full of warriors with differing political views. We ignore race. We ignore religion. We focus on mission. Our warriors stand together to fight for our nation. Our politicians should do the same.
Washington needs to take a page out of the military playbook.
The military says performance is king: What happens if a Supply Officer can't keep his annual budget balanced? He's gone. The same should happen to politicians. Unfortunately we let them play with OUR money, waste it, then re-elect them. If they were on the board of a large corporation, they'd be fired!
The military says mission first: Take that hill. Capture that terrorist. Cordon the area. In the military we learn to be very specific with mission objectives. Does anyone have any idea what America's mission is? I think it used to be "America will be a beacon of hope and freedom for the world to see." Now is it "America is going to be nice to everyone?" I think we can safely say that hasn't worked. So let's ask, "What is America's new mission, Washington?"
So take a look around. See what America's turning into. Get out and vote. Keep politicians accountable. Write a letter to your Congressman. Volunteer. Do something!
In an age when a lot of people on the street think politics isn't their problem, and a sense of entitlement threatens the fabric of our wonderful nation, it's time for us to stand up. Let's stand up and vote. Let's stand up and help each other. Let's stand up and be strong. Let's stand up and be one.
What will you do to make this country great?
Carlos Cooper is author of the Corps Justice novels