Last week, the U.S. military death toll in Iraq hit 2,000. While there’s plenty of good news being unreported there, the sad number still stands. Two thousand men and women in uniform have given their lives during this war, and the families left behind carry deep wounds, both emotionally and otherwise.
Enter Freedom Alliance, a policy organization founded in 1990 by Lt. Col. Oliver North that offers a scholarship fund for the children of service men and women killed in the line of duty. The purpose of the fund is twofold: to help children of American heroes meet the rising costs of education, and to remind them that their parent’s sacrifice won’t be forgotten. This year alone the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund has distributed $250,000 to over 100 students.
In addition, $6 million sits in a trust fund for future recipients. “Most of the children of those dying today in Iraq and Afghanistan are still very young,” notes Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon. “It will be ten or fifteen years until they go to college. The money will be there for them.”
Freedom Alliance has had the help of many friends and organizations in raising money for the scholarship program. In particular, Kilgannon notes, “Sean Hannity has been a huge asset, a great friend, and a great American. He’s done yeoman’s work in making the scholarship known and in helping to raise money. He’s been a godsend for the Freedom Alliance.”
Since learning about the scholarship program in March 2003, Hannity has mobilized his audience and thousands of others behind the scholarship program. Not only does Hannity have “the most generous audience in America,” says Kilgannon, but he also cosponsors the Freedom Alliance’s annual Freedom Concert at Six Flags, New Jersey. Drawing between 11,000 and 12,000 people every summer, the concert has featured the likes of Charlie Daniels, LeeAnn Rimes, Gary Sinise, Martina McBride, Darryl Worley, Sara Evans and Ted Nugent.
Now the Freedom Alliance is gearing up for another big event. At Freedom Alliance’s 15th Anniversary Gala on December 1, North will present the Edward J. Bronars Defender of Freedom Award to General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.). “General Franks is an American hero and is representative of all the men and women in uniform,” says Kilgannon. “He has given his whole career to the U.S. in an exemplary fashion.”
In addition to honoring Franks and the others in the armed forces, Freedom Alliance will use the evening to celebrate a decade and a half of supporting men and women in uniform and defending American sovereignty – the goals North put into place when he established the organization just before the first Gulf War.
During the Persian Gulf War, the fledgling organization sent over 25,000 care packages to troops, providing them with everything from playing cards to beef jerky. Christmas cards have been sent to the troops every year, regardless of whether our nation was involved in a major conflict at the time. Freedom Alliance has also worked with Walter Reed and other hospitals in the Washington D.C. area to provide the soldiers staying there with financial aid, entertainment, phone cards, gift certificates and other needed items.
In addition to meeting one-time needs, Freedom Alliance is dedicated to the ongoing policy battle to defend American sovereignty. International bodies such as the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and the World Trade Organization are “rewriting our Constitution in subtle but very meaningful ways,” said Kilgannon, and he’s not going to let them do so without a fight. His first book, “Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End its Love Affair with the U.N.,” will be released next year.
“There’s a huge effort on the part of the U.N. and its allies to create more and more global institutions and a bigger body of international laws,” he says. Many of these institutions were created “to negate American influence around the world, and they’re being helped by liberals in the U.S.” Efforts to undermine the United States include the International Criminal Court, global taxation treaties, and the Law of the Sea Treaty.
However, Kilgannon says that Americans are finally being awakened to these schemes through the debate over the war in Iraq and through incidents like the Oil-for-Food scandal.
Another bright spot of hope is President Bush’s appointment of John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations. "Clearly, some adult supervision is needed at the United Nations right now and John Bolton is the right man for the job," said Kilgannon in August when Bush made the recess appointment after months of obstruction by the U.S. Senate.
Freedom Alliance is protecting American interests abroad and standing up for our men and women in uniform. You can stand up for them too – by attending the 15th Anniversary Gala in Arlington, VA next month, and/or by getting involved in the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund as Sean Hannity and thousands of others have done.