Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Happy Memorial Day!

June 1, 2010

Today seems a very fitting time to share some excerpts from the very moving speech President Obama gave last weekend at Will’s graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

“Now even as we fight the wars in front of us, we also have to see the horizon beyond these wars – because unlike a terrorist whose goal is to destroy, our future will be defined by what we build. We have to see that horizon, and to get there we must pursue a strategy of national renewal and global leadership. We have to build the sources of America’s strength and influence, and shape a world that’s more peaceful and more prosperous.

Time and again, Americans have risen to meet and to shape moments of change. This is one of those moments – an era of economic transformation and individual empowerment; of ancient hatreds and new dangers; of emerging powers and new global challenges. And we’re going to need all of you to help meet these challenges. You’ve answered the call. You, and all who wear America’s uniform, remain the cornerstone of our national defense, the anchor of global security. And through a period when too many of our institutions have acted irresponsibly, the American military has set a standard of service and sacrifice that is as great as any in this nation’s history.

Now the rest of us – the rest of us must do our part. And to do so, we must first recognize that our strength and influence abroad begins with steps we take at home. We must educate our children to compete in an age where knowledge is capital, and the marketplace is global. We must develop clean energy that can power new industry and unbound us from foreign oil and preserve our planet. We have to pursue science and research that unlocks wonders as unforeseen to us today as the microchip and the surface of the moon were a century ago.

Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power – because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy. And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country – we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths.

But this nation was founded upon a different notion. We believe, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that truth has bound us together, a nation populated by people from around the globe, enduring hardship and achieving greatness as one people. And that belief is as true today as it was 200 years ago. It is a belief that has been claimed by people of every race and religion in every region of the world. Can anybody doubt that this belief will be any less true – any less powerful – two years, two decades, or even two centuries from now?

And we will commit ourselves to forever pursuing a more perfect union. Together with our friends and allies, America will always seek a world that extends these rights so that when an individual is being silenced, we aim to be her voice. Where ideas are suppressed, we provide space for open debate. Where democratic institutions take hold, we add a wind at their back. When humanitarian disaster strikes, we extend a hand. Where human dignity is denied, America opposes poverty and is a source of opportunity. That is who we are. That is what we do.

We do so with no illusions. We understand change doesn’t come quick. We understand that neither America nor any nation can dictate every outcome beyond its borders. We know that a world of mortal men and women will never be rid of oppression or evil. What we can do, what we must do, is work and reach and fight for the world that we seek – all of us, those in uniform and those who are not. “

Happy Memorial Day.

Graduation Weekend

May 21, 2010

We are heading upstate to my nephew’s graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  A bittersweet event, as it culminates 4 years of his being close to our home. We have shared some great times with him and his friends, who became regulars are our dinner table (and laundry room!). After this he is off to Oklahoma, Colorado Springs and most likely, Afghanistan.

We are looking forward to President Obama’s  commencement speech; the very conservative Republican extended family’s imminent criticism of it, not so much. Should be very interesting.

I promise a full report when I return!

A View From the Inside

December 7, 2009

With all of the press and often uneducated opinions (our’s included) on President Obama‘s speech the other night, we thought it might be interesting to share the perspective of someone on the inside; in this case a WestPoint Cadet in his senior year, who was present when the President spoke.

“…I basically liked what the President had to say. I’m willing to give it a try. I basically saw it as an ultimatum that you [Afghanistan] have 18 months to get your stuff in order and here’s 30,000 guys to help you, otherwise, after that, you’re on your own. I think that is a good incentive. I know some people don’t like timetables as it may help the enemy, but, whatever, for if they leave and come back in Aug. ’11, then that’ll just make it all the easier for Afghanistan to get back on its feet and be ready to fight on its own without us having to get involved more than necessary.

I was more disappointed in the press coverage however. We had to sit in that auditorium for 3 and a half hours before the Presidential speech started so of course people were exhausted and can’t stop micro sleep. Nevertheless the press photographers pounced on any photo opportunity to catch one of us sleeping or reading an awkward book (they only took pictures of cadets reading books with the word “kill” in them). I think they focused too much on those kind of cadets rather than the vast majority who were intently paying attention, which is unfair as it portrays us in a negative way.  I was thinking to myself while watching the photographers do their thing, “these guys know we’ve been here all day and are exhausted and would surly excuse us for our fatigue but they are taking photos anyway because it will create scandal and scandal sells.”

I think that says more about the press than us really….

I also think Chris Matthew’s had a horrendously dumb analysis. Yes, he apologized for the “enemy camp” statement, but what was he thinking? Everyone was gonna stand up and cheer saying “Yay, we’re getting deployed! Whoopie!” Of course, we weren’t going to be all smiley and cheery. The media loves to stereotype us as a bunch of right wingers that hate Obama and use our lack of enthusiasm at the speech as evidence, but did Chris Mathews bother to watch how all the cadets swarmed the front of the stage trying desperately to get a picture with the president and shake his hand?  I never watched his full take on the cadets, but I doubt he did.  I know for a fact that everyone here supports and respects the President of the United States, no matter who or when it may be.  To suggest otherwise is ridiculous and unfair to us all.”

Words of Wisdom Never Get Old

September 10, 2009

American Flag in Window

Here I sit in utter disbelief, as I read that a large number of parents chose to ban their children from hearing the President of the United States speak to them about focusing on their education.

This man, who “we the people” elected into office, is not spreading Socialist propaganda, nor is he using our youth to further his own personal agenda.

He is, however, trying to make a difference and instill strong moral values and a sense of hope into kids who are struggling with the fall out of our current economy.

What kind of values are we teaching our children, when we tell them that the most powerful leader in the world should be ignored? Is that not teaching them to be disrespectful of those in positions of authority?

It seems to me, that the Conservatives are so caught up in their own personal prejudices, that they are unwilling to embrace any ideas that are not their own.

Perhaps we should all step back and take a lesson from Eleanor Roosevelt, who seemed to possess an uncanny understanding of the world as it is today.

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe and which mean very little.”

“It takes as much energy to wish, as to plan. It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”

“ Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.”

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. What is to give light must endure the burning.”

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

Perhaps it is time for all of the great minds to come together to find solutions for our country’s woes. Perhaps it is time for our leaders to have the courage to “light a candle”, and “endure the burning” for the greater good of our country. Perhaps, in using our energy to plan, we can fulfill the universal wish for health and prosperity, and world peace. Surely we can all agree on that.

Photo: Spencer Jones/Glasshouse Images


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