The American Legion was chartered by Congress as a patriotic veterans organization nearly 100 years ago and now counts more than 2.4 million heroes as members. The organization is holding its national convention in Indianapolis this week and in a stunning sign of disrespect, President Barack Obama could not stop campaigning long enough to address the members.
Last year the Obama administration failed to send a representative to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention for the first time in the organization’s 112 year history. This year President Obama did not entirely repeat that snub to Legionnaires but he came close while his opponent in the election showed true respect for these veterans.
Over the past two days Obama has made campaign stops in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. Unable to take time out of his busy schedule to address the American Legion, Obama recorded a three minute videotaped message. Watching it I couldn’t help but be struck that many of the ‘accomplishments’ for veterans he cited were actually initiated by George W Bush.
Contrast Obama’s three-minute videotaped appearance at the Legion convention with what Mitt Romney did.
The Republican National Convention is going on in Tampa and Romney clearly has a lot going on as he prepares to accept his party’s nomination. He however saw the importance of recognizing and addressing our nation’s heroes.
Romney cleared his campaign schedule for Tuesday and flew from Tampa to Indianapolis where he spent the day with Legion officers and veterans. He gave a rousing and compelling speech (watch below) outlining his vision to restore the promise we as a nation have made to our veterans and ensure our military remains second to none.
He told the Legionnaires, “You may wonder why I am not down [at the Republican National Convention] right now polishing the final draft of my speech. My answer is this: When our nation has called, you answered, and I consider any opportunity to address our nation’s veterans a privilege not to be missed.”
The Republican nominee said he would make veterans his ‘personal priority’ and pledged much needed reforms to the Veterans Administration. His commentary on national security was compelling and it is important for Americans to remember that while the economy may be the big topic of discussion, protecting the homeland is a priority second to none.
If there is one thing sure to set me off on a rant it is the thought of anyone disrespecting our military or veterans. These men and women deserve our utmost respect and need to be treated as the heroes they are.
Sadly many Americans pay veterans lip service saying “I support our troops” out loud while quietly bad mouthing their mission, the way the mission is conducted, and failing to ever truly acknowledge the sacrifices our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines make.
It would appear the current Commander in Chief is one of those people. Obama could not stop campaigning for one day to address this esteemed group of heroes. That is a statement which should not be lost on veterans or any American.