There was a moment last night during the President’s speech to the joint session of Congress which was significant and cathartic in both symbolism and reality.
President Trump acknowledged Carryn Owens, widow of fallen warrior hero Navy Seal Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens. He then gave tribute to the Petty Office, recently slain during the raid in Yemen:
“Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero battling against terrorism and securing our nation,”
If he had stopped at that point, it would have been a wonderful moment, but perhaps lost in the history of other wonderful moments during such speeches. However; he went beyond that, in an off-script moment, he offered a simple, unadorned “thank you” to Carryn Owens. Again, he could have stopped there, allowed the customary standing ovation and moved on.
But he didn’t. Instead in what seemed to be genuinely heartfelt, he led both Congress and the nation in extended standing applause celebrating Ryan’s heroic contribution of our country, acknowledging Carryn’s loss, and our deep nationwide appreciation for both.
There are presidential moments that are memorable, President Reagan in Germany telling Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!”. President Bush in New York at the 9/11 site, taking the bullhorn and declaring, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people…and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”. Last night’s “Owen’s moment” will prove to be as memorable.
From the latter end of the Vietnam era through the past administration, liberals have shown the military the back of their hand. Whether its’ the Clinton’s loathing of the military-often subjecting it to the status of degraded mockery, or President Obama’s obvious distain as Commander-in-Chief-all the while taking their credit as his own, any acknowledgement felt like devised political calculation.
For the first time in a very long time, this moment felt sincere and without a trace of political calculus. As Carryn Owens stood, tears flowing down her face, looking heavenward, the purity of the moment was evident in every fiber of her being. We don’t know Mrs. Owen’s heart, but we can hope the moment provided some peaceful respite as she and her family deal with their grief and pain.
In times past, we as a nation have valued our military and their considerable contribution to our freedoms in a purely bi-partisan nature. As evidenced by the liberal’s response to President Trump’s speech, those times seem to have passed us by. But, for a moment, one simple unadorned moment, we were given the chance to just say “thank you – you are significant to us – your contribution to our nation is meaningful and appreciated.”
It felt good and it felt right. I for one am grateful the President gave us that moment.