Burden said he started Blackfive so that he could write about Mat, and the other Americans like him, too many in the media were ignoring. Recently Burden joined others to form the Warrior Legacy Foundation (WLF), a group “committed to the protection and promotion of the reputation and dignity of America’s Warriors.”
While the purpose of so many of the wonderful milblogs formed over the past decade have been to tell the stories not being told by the media, the WLF aims to foster a new respect for the American warrior, “steadfastly dedicated to the protecting the legacy and honor of ALL those who have served this great nation.”
Executive Director David Bellavia wrote, “If America only respected her warriors the way other nations who have fought us have, there would be no reason to exist at The Warrior Legacy Foundation. We spend billions of dollars on the way young children from other nations look at American servicemen and woman, but not a dime on the way young children in our own country view military service. Our purpose is simple and our goal is audacious. We will change American culture’s perception of the American veteran. Children will announce they want to serve in our nation’s military and teachers will applaud their aspirations, rather than regard them as lowering their standards. Parents need to see veterans for what they are: the best that every generation had to offer. Serving your country will be considered to be a career worthy of distinction, not a last resort for misguided youth.”
When reading that I couldn’t help but recall John Kerry’s advice to a Pasadena City College crowd to study hard and do their homework so they wouldn’t end up in Iraq. If more of the stories about the impressive work members of our armed forces have done in Iraq had been reported John Kerry might not have felt comfortable in making such a comment.
A couple of years ago I wrote that those in our armed forces don’t want pity, which is what they have been getting a good bit of over the past few years. They do not want to be portrayed as victims, because they are not victims. They want our respect and support. More important, they deserve our respect and support.
We should make sure all veterans (especially wounded warriors) and the families of the fallen are compensated financially, and that their health care needs are met, but the support I am talking about is respect and support for their commitment to serve.
On Memorial Day we honored those who gave their lives in the service of their country. We must also honor not only those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who have been awarded medals of valor, but those who serve every day, both here and abroad – many quietly and without much recognition. We must honor their dedication to service that has made it possible for this country to achieve greatness. By honoring these great Americans and their commitment to serve, we will educate future generations and ensure the tradition of proud military service continues.