Lance T Walker

U.S. Kills Osama bin Laden: Reports

Thank you, America... from a Former Special Ops Vet I had the opportunity to watch President Obama's thank-you speech to the Special Operations troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on Friday. As a former Air Force Special Ops team member, I've had a pretty businesslike reaction to the successful raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan this week. Basically a "good job, next mission" approach, as one might expect. I served in the mid 1980s, when the Special Ops program was fairly new and the lessons of the Desert One debacle were still fresh in our minds. Then as now, we trained to do the job because it was important, not for fame or even recognition. We didn't see ourselves as noble, we saw ourselves as necessary. So I was quite unprepared for the enormous feeling of gratitude that suddenly swelled up inside of me as I listened to the President speak. Even though a part of me knew I was watching pure theatre, pre-written and professionally produced, the words still felt amazingly good. I found myself actually appreciating the fact that so many people put in so much work just to say thank you. I don't feel shallow, embarrassed, or weak. I feel proud, and honored to have had a part in the development of a fighting force as good as this one is. But even more important, I feel a sense of gratitude for a nation that knows how to say thank you. And this feeling has made me aware that I haven't said thank you nearly enough to the people around me. As a businessperson, I know I'll be saying it a lot more to my partners, my associates, and my clients. And as a man, I'll be saying it a lot more to my friends, my relatives, my loved ones, and even Sabrina, my cat. You see, I was a young adolescent when the veterans came home from Viet Nam. Many times, the reception they received was not pleasant. To experience such a turnaround, to see and feel a nation's respect, is a wonderful thing to behold, and I've been blessed to see it happen. To defend this country is an honorable thing. To have a country like this to defend is an incredible thing. I believe I can speak for all those who have served when I say we understand the value of your affection, even if we don't always say it out loud. And so today, I say for all of us, thank you America. Thank you for being you. Happy Mother's Day! (thanks Mom)
— May 8, 2011 noon

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