The month of December was rather interesting for me in several ways, one of which I will go into here. While out and about town, I met two people who persuaded me to attend the Helping A Hero (HaH) national gala, which was held at the downtown Marriott Marquis on 12 December 2019. The two men who got me interested in going were HaH board member “Buddy” Grantham, and Texas statehouse HD 148 candidate Luis LaRotta.
I got out rather late on the evening of 12 December due to work-related issues. However, once I got to the hotel, I found myself heading up several floors to a huge ballroom that could accommodate over 100 tables. Each table was nearly fully packed, with around 10 people seated per table. The featured speaker at the event was former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, but a number of other speakers were also at the podium. In all, the speakers stressed how much military service in wartime is really a family affair. In other words, the entire family ends up serving whether they like it or not. Families are split up, and they never quite know if their father, mother, boyfriend or girlfriend, or sibling are going to return home again. Mrs. Haley also gave an inspiring speech defending the United States as an ideal, both in the UN and against the endless attacks of the cultural and political Left.
The most enduring memory I have of that night is of seeing former servicemen who had been injured during their war duties in Afghanistan and Iraq. I saw men in their thirties who had their faces deformed and their ears singed off. The audience heard an inspiring story of one soldier who loved to play golf, but had lost his arms in combat. Through the wonders of modern medicine, doctors were able to attach new arms onto this man and he was able to live a somewhat normal life again.
I ran into Buddy Grantham several days later at another event, and I told him I attended the Helping A Hero gala and had made a donation to the charity. We got to talking about what the charity does for servicemen. I told him that what I saw was that Helping A Hero could provide highly tailored solutions to needs that wounded servicemen have, such as building homes with wide passageways for wheelchair-bound former servicemen. It occurred to me that the VA, being a government agency, would only do so much for former soldiers. Mr. Grantham agreed, but replied back to me that the VA is ultimately statutorily limited in what they can do for former servicemen by Congress, and that many of those benefits are tailored for a bygone era. What charities like Helping A Hero can do is carry on where the VA steps off.
What I also remember of that night was what happened after the gala was over. As I drove home, I got to thinking of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that America has waged for 16+ years now. American men (and women) went to serve in these operations because they were told to do so. I couldn’t help but think of why America is still bogged down on both countries. The Washington Post recent published the Afghanistan Papers, which made a very big splash in the news recently. The Post reported how high-level figures in the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as many in the Washington, DC beltway, misled and mischaracterized the war, putting the war effort in a much better light than it really was. Current president Donald Trump was revealed recently by Business Insider to have held private meetings with ordinary US Navy Seals, and asked them their opinion of the war. Their responses to Mr. Trump’s inquiries were not all that flattering.
As I drove home, I found that I could not come up with a single good reason why America is still waging war in Afghanistan or in Iraq. Now, I’m sure someone more in the know than I am would be happy to give me a beatdown on why we are still sending our sons and daughters there, but my reply to that is – What exactly are America’s political goals here? What is the endgame? At what point can it be decided that we’ve won and it is time to bring the troops home? If your answer is, “We have to be there for another 30 years to stabilize the Middle East!” then I would submit to you that we’re never going to stabilize the Middle East.
But, I wrote this post because we are at the end of another decade at blogHOUSTON, and I wanted to write of Houstonians doing something positive for people who have suffered misfortunes (not of their own making). I want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season, a Happy New Year, and that you enjoy this wonderful new decade that is upon us.