What We Hope to Accomplish
In the Beginning
The rabbit was asked… Can you really out run the coyote? His response was “I have to”…
In the beginning…When hunters and gatherers first realized that they can make the land produce everything they would need to survive, they stopped being nomadic hunters and gatherers, constantly looking for game and food, and they became farmers. They planted crops, domesticated animals and the village was born. Soon after civilization began, differences in villages began and soon thereafter, Wars began. This is the unpalatable truth that is as old as the first family, where one brother killed the other, over jealousy.
n the beginning …villages evolved, leaders emerged, and rules were established to have peace and harmony among its members…as in nature the elders teach the young and they became the leaders. When a village wanted or needed something they didn’t have and another village did, the conflicts began, because the villagers could barely sustain their own members and could not control prisoners, annihilation and slavery was born. The fear of retaliation made it imperative to kill that which they could not use. Young women and children, who could easily be assimilated and wouldn’t pose a threat, were taken into slavery and the men and the old were killed. Keeping your enemy alive, running the risk he would someday rise and destroy you was not an option, feeding him, housing him, was just not practical. Controlling, incarcerating, were concepts yet to come. It was total annihilation… That’s How it All Began.
To that reality, the Warrior was born. It was not the wisest or the oldest, but the strongest and the bravest that stood between the enemy and the total destruction of everything he held dearest to him. His mother, – father, his wife, sisters, his children, and the very dirt beneath his feet he loved so passionately… the world as he knew it. The village would send out their young men, and with them rested their collective survival. Fierce they were, for upon their shoulders rested a way of life. And when they came back victorious, the Hero was born. So grateful was the village that they would shower them with all manners of gifts and flowers, they would celebrate and hail them as their protectors, as their Heroes. For they saved their world.
As time passed villages gave themselves a distinguishing name to further identify their individuality… names such as Greeks, Persians and Romans and although they would have period of relative tranquility, inevitably the time would come when one would impose their will upon the other. And once again; the brave young men of the village would go forward to protect their way of life. Some villages vanished while others grew but it always was the young sent forward that would spill their blood for their brothers. Always it was the possession of the other that was sought or feared. Sometimes it was the beauty and the light that was feared the most, the possessions of attitudes and ideas that could revolutionize and transform a people. Night after night seeing the light that shines so bright on the Village on Hill, to some, was the most horrifying of all.
Down through the millenniums villages have come and gone some have led, some have followed but the unpalatable truth still remains. The thing that at times is feared the most is the shining light of tolerance. That Village on the hill with the brightest light of all is a place called America. A place of incredible riches. The envy of all those who lack. Among its most precious possession is a beacon of hope that draw to it people from all over the land. The strength of this village is in a grouping of laws created by its elders to give to their children and their children’s children, a manner of thinking unlike anything that has ever been. The real wealth of this village are its people drawn to it by this beacon where they found a life unlike any back home, where all their differences have became the same and have forged a place that has never been.
And again, like many times before, this village is in peril for there are those that cannot live under the light of the City on the Hill. And they have come again, this time they don’t come to just destroy the building or the wall; they come to destroy the light. They come to steal the laws and to send the people running. Unlike the enemies of the past they have no interest in the women and the young, they come this time to destroy everything and everyone. Once again the brave and the strong of the village are called like they’ve been so many times before and they will demonstrate to any foe the power of the light. God bless America and God bless our Heroes, our boys in uniform.
What we hope to accomplish is to Honor our Brave men and women, and those they leave behind.
What We DID Accomplish
A young man came up to me, he looked like he’d been on a golf course before. He had the look of a ringer. He asked, “Are we teeing off at oh-1300?” I had to stop for a moment. My mind was on the police helicopter with our video guy, waiting for the 100-foot flag to open. The flag had to open just before the parachutes landed and we needed 90 volunteers to hold the flag. The Elite Frog parachute team had to land, change and we had to get out to the course by 1 p.m. I had to stop for a moment and think about his question. No one had ever asked that specific question before. I replied, “Hey, don’t confuse me. We call it 1 o’clock out here.” I knew at that moment the SEALs had infiltrated our perimeter. The young man was one of 12 Navy SEALs and Marine Recon that came down from San Diego to play golf with us. America’s best taking some R&R.
We accomplished a lot with this tournament. I think we got to know each other a bit better. There were more people involved this time. As a result, we came away with a very good feeling, seeing how people responded to our guys fighting this war. Also, I think they enjoyed it and were uplifted by the support they received from the general public.
n the course of organizing this year’s tournament, we needed more services than we had last year. A young lady, Krysten Jones, arranged for us to borrow a historic flag for the day. It was a 100-foot flag that was unveiled for the first time when the 52 hostages held by Iran were released in 1980.
Naturally, we needed 90 plus guys to hold it and we needed a helicopter to fly overhead and take some pictures – step in the Pasadena Police Department and Lt. Bob Mulhall who was in charge of the department’s heliport. We asked Lt. Mulhall if we could land a helicopter on the course or if by chance the police themselves would help us. He indicated he would run it by the chief and get back to us. Within a few days he got back to us with a yes and not only would they fly over the flag but they would bring Bruce Jones, the official Pasadena Police photographer, to take the pictures. Not knowing when to stop, we asked him if it would be possible for one of our guys to go up with them to shoot a video. He took up two of our volunteers, Adrian Marinovich and Brian Lambert . That’s the kind of support we are constantly amazed by.
Kim Carpenter, Chairperson of this year’s event, organized a silent auction that rivaled Wal-Mart, and then the big guns came out. Hugh Hewitt, the nationally syndicated radio talk show host, joined us for dinner and eloquently spoke about our special operations people. He spoke of their duty and service to our country and also wrote an excellent piece on his Web page the following day about the event. Also, Tarzana Joe, poetry correspondent and poet laureate of the Hugh Hewitt Show, came and played. At the dinner ceremony he read two beautiful poems, “A Soldier’s Wife” and “Her Husband.” There were three young ladies in the audience that lost their husbands in Afghanistan and it was quite moving. It truly felt for a brief moment like one big family… a very special moment.
Then enters Command Sergeant Major Steven Greer, US Army Ret. In the process of promoting this tournament we had to send letters, make flyers and let people know what it was about and who was coming. There are no short names here except for Hugh Hewitt. Imagine every time we want to say something, we have to say “2nd Annual United Warrior Survivor Foundation Golf Tournament.” In an attempt to shorten a flyer we thought maybe we could drop the word Command and just say Sergeant Major Steven Greer. A lot of us doing the grunt work were never in the military nor understand some of the ranks and their meanings. After talking to Nick Rocha, President of United Warrior Survivor Foundation, here’s what I’ve learned about Command Master Sergeant. This is strictly my opinion as best I understand it. The sergeants keep the troops alive. The Sergeant Major keeps the sergeants, lieutenants and captains alive and the Command Sergeant Major is at the top and above all Sergeant Majors. Steven Greer at 33 was the youngest Command Sergeant Major of the Army.
He gave a very sobering and emotional talk that focused on two areas. First, the need to understand the enemy we are fighting. As time passes, we sometimes get back to business as usual and we forget 9/11. We forget that we were fortunate that only 3,000 died that day; that we were able to get the other 40,000 other people in the towers out in time; that one plane was brought down by the passengers or it could have hit the Capitol with Congress in session. A large number of Senators and Representatives could have been killed. They meant to strike a death blow to America. They meant to kill as many as they could using whatever they could. That point was driven home by the barbaric execution of Nicholas Berg, beheaded on camera for the entire world to see. The inescapable truth is that there is no alternative other than to destroy such an enemy, wherever he is found. And if we don’t, he’ll destroy us.
The other part was directed to three young women that joined us whose husbands had been killed while fighting in Afghanistan. Steven could hardly hold back the tears as he spoke directly to them about a subject that was obvious to all the Special Forces in the room and barely understood by us civilians. That the life they chose – to serve their country – oftentimes means we lose the people we love the most. How special they were. We just hear about that in the news, but when you see and hear the people affected firsthand, it’s another thing entirely. You could hear a pin drop as Steven continued his address to the women. They came from different parts of the country to spend the day with us; young, vibrant, full of life and gracious in a situation that could have very been uncomfortable for them. And, I might add, surrounded and protected by a platoon of SEALs and Marines. They are and were a family looking out for their fallen brother’s lady just like their little sisters. It was a real pleasure having them there and they too enjoyed the day. It was also good for them to see that we know of their sacrifice, and are loved as much as the husbands they lost while fighting for all our freedoms.
As for us at 9-11helpameica, we continue to be surprised, not because of what we have accomplished but because of the love and support that we are finding out is there for our guys in uniform and the spouses that survive them. We have gotten to know some of these SEALs and Marines on a personal level, their dedication, their commitment to the country and themselves; and in some ways they are just like the rest of us …terrible golfers, but a sense of humor about it. However unlike us, when they go to work… it’s deadly serious. It’s been a real privilege to be associated with people like Nick Rocha, Barbra Coleman and Eric Knirk of the United Warrior Survivor Foundation and all those SEALs and Marines that came to play. Last but not least, the three remarkable women that came to have fun too. It’s not at every golf tournament that the National Anthem is played in front of a 100-foot flag and the last group of golfers to check in parachutes onto the course.
Have we advanced the ball? We think so. Have we helped in building a bridge between the Military and the civilians, at least a little? We think so. Are more people getting involved? We think so. Back in October of 2001, we started with the idea of showing that a few people can make a difference. Are we on the right track? We definitely think so. To all those that help made this event possible and successful a BIG THANKS!