On July 4, 1976, I was a smart-alecky eleven-year-old who went with my father and brother to the Esplanade in Boston to hear the Boston Pops play in the Bicentennial celebration concert. Meanwhile, two Netanyahu brothers participated in a special operations raid on Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free 106 hostages, 94 of them Israelis, being held by what we would now (refuse to) call Islamic radicals.
Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also served in the Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s special forces, but was not on the mission to Uganda with his brothers Iddo and Jonathan (Yoni). Yoni was the mission’s commander, and the only commando killed in the raid, along with three hostages.
Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Entebbe, 40 years later, along with members who participated in the raid, to pay tribute to their success, and his brother’s sacrifice.
“This is a deeply moving day for me,” he said. “Forty years ago they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight in a friendly country led by a president who fights terrorists.”
The days of Idi Amin are over, but Israel remembers her heroes. You won’t find many Israeli politicians who haven’t served in the military.
In America, we have two candidates for president, and a currently serving president, who have never served a single day in uniform. (No, I don’t count Donald Trump’s attendance at a military high school. Sorry.) Trump somehow developed the unique medical condition of bone spurs that spontaneously appear when draft deferments end, and then mysteriously disappear after the war. Trump’s “personal Vietnam” consisted of avoiding venereal disease.
President Obama was too young for Vietnam, and spent too much time smoking pot and hanging around communists and anti-American activists like Bill Ayers to ever consider serving. Hillary Rodham latched on to Bill Clinton for his brains and his political future. Neither of them had the least inkling to put on a uniform.
In the last two election cycles, only John McCain had served. While Israel honors military heroes, Trump denigrates Americans like McCain who were shot down, captured, and tortured by the enemy.
Clinton sat by while former Navy SEALs Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty died trying to defend Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. She was more concerned with her boss’ re-election campaign and blaming obscure videos on September 11, 2012 than the lives of those under her leadership. She played fast and loose with Top Secret classified information that put more American lives at risk.
These are the individuals who are leading our country. They speak ear-tickling words, but their actions show no valor. How any veteran can support any of these is a mystery to me.
I have never served in the military (Civil Air Patrol is as close as I got), but I have worked closely with them as an Air Force contractor. Our country is worthy of defending its valor and those who earn it. It’s a shame that we have lost that.
P.S. My father tried several times to serve in World War II. He even tried to go to Canada to join, according to what I have been told, but he was 4F. He was a musician who gave up his career to join General Electric for the war effort. He worked there for 40 years making jet engines. Fittingly, my father passed away at 96 years old on July 4, 2016, 40 years to the day after that warm evening on the Charles River. Not everyone has to wear a uniform to sacrifice for their country.