Friday, September 14, 2012

America - and Americans first (And welcome home to Ryan Ullery and Bravo Battery. Well done, soldiers!

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

Today (Saturday) is a wonderful day.

As many of you are reading this, my family and I are at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus, meeting our son, Ryan, as he and his fellow soldiers from Bravo Battery return home from their year-long, or perhaps I should say "long year" deployment in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

As a parent of a United States Army soldier, I am so very proud of our son for serving his country. As a citizen of the United States of America, I am equally proud of each and every man and woman who wears the uniform of one of our armed services and stands ready to defend our freedom.

This was our son's first deployment. For many Bravo families this was the second or even third time that they held down the fort on the home front as their soldier went to a far-away land to protect those of us at home.

As our son returns home, I find myself asking if the year that he spent away from home, was worth it. Like soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of past generations, he made personal sacrifices during his tour. He got married days before shipping out. He did make it home for mid-tour leave just in time to attend the birth of his daughter, but had to leave again within a couple of days.

Granted, there are many who would argue that these sacrifices are not the same as those who were wounded or killed defending our country. By the same token, each and every man and woman who goes to war puts themselves in harm's way. Yet, they knowingly and willingly put on the uniform and stand their post.

No matter, all of us are grateful for the safe return of Ryan and Bravo Battery.

This is an election year ... not that any of us needs to be reminded with all of the campaign garbage we are forced to endure daily.

Without getting into the "us vs them" part of the election rhetoric, I will simply say that I believe that it is time to look back at the virtues of isolationism. I know that we have a world-wide economy in this 21st century. We cannot cut ourselves off from the rest of the world, nor am I saying that we should.

I am saying that we need to have a new policy of "America and Americans First."

For decades America has been trying to be do the right thing, (sometimes even for the right reasons,) and help those who are less fortunate. All too often the recipients of our benevolence take what we have to give and then give us the finger as they walk away.

We have become the laughing stock of the world. We are, of course, much to blame for our plight. Unions, greed, laziness and downright arrogance on our part have put us where we are today.
This sense of entitlement that has a death grip on today's younger generation is endangering our way of life.

I hear loud cries of "we must take America back," from many folks who will be going to the polls in November. We cannot take America "back" until we stop giving everything we have to those in other parts of the world.

Our leaders need to get our troops out of Afghanistan and other theatres of conflict. If those people want to kill each other ... let them. If they want to chant "death to America," let them ... as long as they do it from a safe distance. That's right, we don't need them in our country. Yes, it is time to put the clamps on our borders.

As with any bully, not all countries get the concept of "If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone."

We need to maintain a strong military but we do not need to send troops to far away lands as sacrificial lambs. If a country commits an atrocity or an act of war, we respond quickly and decisively while putting the fewest number of Americans physically in harm's way as is possible — we have the technology.

America — and Americans, first! If we don't do it, no one else is going to do it for us.

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