Greetings y’all from Washington DC, home of the “swamp” — and some of you thought that was the Florida Gators stadium. Needless to say, there are some very interesting creatures here, but that’s not the purpose of this missive. This one is very personal.I flew in yesterday aboard a Southwest Airlines flight out of Dallas Love Field. I was sitting on the starboard ( right) side of the aircraft in the exit row. We were landing to the south and in doing so there’s a very interesting contrast in what one sees from the window. On one side you see Washington D.C., a splendid place, but replete with cronysim, corruption and incompetence. On my side, I looked down and saw the United States Marine Corps Memorial, that iconic monument of the American Flag being raised on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. And then, what was once the home of West Point graduate, U.S. Army officer, and Confederate general, Robert E. Lee and the beautiful “Garden of Stone,” Arlington National Cemetery. A sacred place, hallowed ground, which other than the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam memorials, offers a distinct opposing viewpoint of solemn courage, service and sacrifice.
It is here in that very special place where my wife’s dad, Master Sergeant Ronald Keith Graham (US Army, Retired) shall be finally laid to rest. MSG Graham was a U.S. Army combat infantryman who came to this nation from Jamaica. He served a couple of tours in Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division, “Americal.” And just like my own dad, my father-in-law will take his place in the “Garden of Stone” amongst all those who have given their lives in service to our Constitutional Republic, our America.
On this last day in June, 2017, as we prepare to celebrate our 241st American Independence Day, let us never forget why we are the “land of the free”…because of simple men and women, like MSG Ronald Graham, who make us the “home of the brave.”
I would recommend that all of those from the president to the Members of Congress should gather in the middle of the night and watch that sole Soldier stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And don’t pick a easy night, but one that’s bone-chilling cold, wet and miserable. Stand there for an entire tour of the watch for one of these members of our 3rd Infantry Regiment, the “Old Guard” and reflect on that solemn, hallowed piece of ground, and those laid to rest there across the Potomac, still in their resting place standing guard on that rolling hill looking over to Washington D.C.I’m quite sure MSG Graham’s brothers were there along with Saint Peter to welcome him home, that final home, the mansion of the Lord.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]