I believed that if I had played the game the way it was meant to be played, and caught a few lucky breaks, I might have made flag rank. I know that I do not have now, and never did have, what it takes to be a Navy SEAL.
Lex was a fighter pilot, the best of the best, the elite of the elite, yet he gives props to those who have even more talent then him-
I also know fighter pilots, know them well. They give pride of place to few, their arrogance is legendary, even if overblown by those who envy their accomplishments. I’ve known fighter pilots who can make an airplane sing, who can turn the turbulent world of air combat into an operatic ballet, with themselves as the conductor. Knowing every beat and stanza, placidly certain of the denouement. But I never knew a fighter pilot who in his most private self would not tip his head to those few, those noble few, who are qualified to bring death to our nation’s foes by sea, air and land.He goes on to describe a little of the lifestyle that is being a SEAL-
The selection process is rigorous, the training syllabus withering. You may think you have what it makes to be a member of the teams. But if the instructional staff has doubts about your intelligence, your dedication, your ability to work as a member of a team, your physical stamina and endurance, you are done. There is no court of secondary appeal. And when they have decided that you do not have what it takes to make the grade, to fight alongside their beloved brothers in arms, you will leave thinking it was your decision. You will ring the bell and be grateful.
For those few who make the cut, those who get to wear the Budweiser, the real challenges are yet to come. The challenge now is not to make the cut, it is not to grasp the intricacies of advanced training. The challenge is to go to places so utterly foreign, and fight foes so thoroughly implacable that to take the mission is to willingly part with all that you have, and all that you love, and place everything in the balance in a desperate gamble.
You will be expensively and thoroughly trained, of course. You will have practiced until your motions seem involuntary. You will have in your company men who know, trust and love you in their own rough way. You will have certain knowledge of the justice of your cause, and the depravity of your enemy. But you will also know that fate plays its own games as you feel the beat of your own heart in your breast, knowing – as young men should never have to know – that when you’re on a mission, the next beat is not promised. Knowing that the fog of war is ineluctable, no matter your training, experience and skill.
Knowing that things can and will go wrong.
And you go anyway. Night after night, week after week, taunting fate.
You go knowing that it is not merely your own life that trembles in the balance, but the lives of those you love, and who depend upon you. You go knowing that there is something more important even than those things: It is the idea we as a nation represent, whose best exemplification is those you fight alongside. You do not dwell on it, nor do you wear it on your sleeve. But it is there nonetheless.
I know this because I have met them.America lost 25 of its best young men this weekend, fighting against an enemy who believes that women must wear a veil (at least), dancing is a sin, and that anyone who displeases their notion of Allah is fair game to be tortured, murdered and abused. People who hate freedom, abhor democracy, and think that everything America stands for is evil.
They gave their last full measure of devotion to this country, even as our country stands on the brink of tearing itself apart.
A Tea party slogan from a few years ago said that if you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention. After this weekend, if you haven't shed a tear for these fallen heroes, then perhaps you don't understand their sacrifice.
Please take a minute to put your flag at half staff, and remind local businesses that fly Old Glory to do the same.