Amos was again on the hot seat when he spoke recently with reporters during a Southern California visit to mark the Marines' 235th birthday. With American troops on the battlegrounds in Afghanistan and still deployed in Iraq, Amos said now is not the time to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military.
Amos explained: "This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness. ... There's risk involved. I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. ... There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women -- and when you talk of infantry, we're talking our young men -- laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers. I don't know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that's what we're looking at. It's unit cohesion; it's combat effectiveness."
I applaud Amos for caring more for the troops than for being politically correct. He deserves the accolades of military personnel and all citizens alike. Americans should feel proud and safer to have him serving as the commandant of the Marine Corps. If we had more leaders like him in this world, we wouldn't be in half the hurt that we are. In fact, as an Air Force vet and honorary Marine, I say with millions of others, "Ooh-rah!"
I know you'll join me in giving thanks this Thanksgiving for leaders like Amos and all the rest of our service members around the world. It is their service and sacrifice that allow us the freedom to enjoy the peace and prosperity of our festive turkey day.
Lastly, with gratefulness in our hearts, I encourage and challenge Americans everywhere to heed the call of William Bradford, who admonished: "Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings."
(Please make sure to support our military personnel this holiday season by sending some form of encouragement to our troops, whether it be participating in a Christmas care package through Give2TheTroops -- the deadline for which is Dec. 1 -- or a word of encouragement by sending a free Christmas card via Let's Say Thanks.)