It’s Thursday night, 11pm CT, and I’m sitting in the Comfort Suites at the Austin-Berstrom Airport. Just finished a great day as the public member, appointed by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, on the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. What an honor to sit with Texas Senators and Representatives with the mission of reviewing State agencies to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency. Only in a place like America can a young fella born and raised in the inner city of Atlanta can grow up, become a US Congressman, and be appointed to a State government oversight commission.
And it has just been that kinda week, a true American week where we saw citizens, Patriots, make a stand against the failures of progressive socialism. They let their voices be heard in a stentorian manner to put an end to the corruption, corporate cronyism and elitism that is endemic in the Clinton crime cartel. The descendants of the Sons and Daughters of Liberty said no to any more “fundamental transformation” of our beloved Republic. We stood in the gap realizing we were made for a time such as this in order to secure the blessings of the American Dream for future generations. So that a kid like me can reach the highest of heights due to his own indomitable individual determination and spirit as Victor. Not settling to be lifeless drones, barely existing as members of the dependency society as created by the welfare nanny-state, victims.
Tomorrow, the West Family will be in Knoxville, Tennessee, yep, back on Rocky Top, for our annual pilgrimage for the Army ROTC alumni weekend, except this time it is even more special. I’m so honored to be one of nine inducted into the inaugural class of the Tennessee Army ROTC Hall of Fame. It will be the single largest gathering of Generals in the history of Tennessee Army ROTC history. Ours is a tradition that is steeped in history, and began when our program was established in 1844. And it is because of students from our University who volunteered for service in the Mexican War that we earn the esteemed title of Tennessee Volunteers. And the event comes on no better day, Veterans Day…so appropriate.
I sit here in this hotel room reflecting on the day that we honor those who have answered the call of service…just as in Isaiah 6:8, when the hosts of the Lord asked, “who will go for us, whom shall we send?” It was Isaiah who replied, “Here am I, send me.” It is this impeccable legacy that began on the open field of Lexington Green, and continues to today, that we remember. And for the West Family, it is a day steeped in personal honor and reflection. I harken back and remember the stories told to me by my Dad, US Army Corporal Herman West, Sr. A man who answered that call as a member of the “Greatest Generation,” saying “send me” during World War II. But not just that, Dad also gave back serving as a nursing assistant at the Atlanta VA hospital…a Veteran serving his brother and sister Veterans. And sadly, it was there, in that same VA hospital, where my Dad, the pillar and exemplary of American fatherhood, took his final breath in 1986.
But that simple man, born in Ozark, Alabama, who grew up in Randolph County, Cuthbert, Georgia didn’t just service, sacrifice and commit himself. He raised subsequent generations of American men who would also say, “send me.” What a real pleasure it was yesterday to call up my older brother, Lance Corporal Herman West, Jr., and tell him “Happy 241st Birthday Marine”…and hear him respond as only a Marine can, Semper Fi! I remember my brother volunteering for the Marines, not drafted, and heading off to Vietnam. And I will never forget the pictures my combat infantryman brother sent back from those rugged hills of Vietnam — little did I know he was at a place called Khe Sahn. I could have been one of those who could only remember my brother from a name on a black stone slab on a Memorial — some of his brothers are there. Because they answered the call.
I will never forget that day when those two American combat veterans, Dad and Brother, a Soldier and a Marine, challenged me to be the first officer in our family. And that’s why this Veterans Day is so very special, going back to Tennessee where that challenge was met, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Rocky Top Battalion before my dear wife Angela and our daughters, Aubrey and Austen. It is there in Knoxville where I was able to say on 31 July 1982, my commissioning day, “Here am I, send me.”
And that legacy, that bloodline of American Warriors was not to end with me. There it was on June 6, 2002 at Ft. Hood, Texas, on the parade field of the 4th Infantry Division, the 58th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It was that day those many years back that the Ivy Division landed at Utah Beach and fought inland “Steadfast and Loyal.” And that same 4ID patch was on my left shoulder as I took command of an Artillery Battalion — my older brother and his son in the stands. And on that day, young Herman Bernard West III, came up to his uncle and said, “Here am I, send me,” when he confided in me that he wanted to be an Army officer and Artilleryman. And so, the fourth generation of our family has answered the call with my nephew Major West, an Artillery Battalion Executive Officer.
That’s what Veterans Day means to me. That’s why the triumph of Donald Trump Tuesday evening, actually Wednesday morning, means so much. Because we have a reason for more generations of American men and women to answer the call saying, “Send me,” because liberty and freedom has a new opportunity in America. Our young men and women serving in uniform can once again know why they serve — not to protect the cowards who would abandon them to die in a faraway land, and spew forth a false narrative. They do not serve with honor and distinction so that the corrupt and dishonorable can abandon them at VA hospitals. They do not serve so that liars and deceivers, who believe they’re above the American people, can give homage to those who disrespect and disregard the very symbol they defend and salute.
This Veterans Day is special because the American flag still has defenders, even as petulant, ignorant youth burn it. This Veterans Day is special for me because my own youngest daughter, Austen, has answered the call, enrolling in Army ROTC. She can be the fifth generation from the bloodline of Herman West, Sr., and the first female to say, “Here am I, send me.”
Yep, this is an awesome Veterans Day, I’m on Rocky Top, the home of the Tennessee Volunteers — where they continue to say, “Here am I, send me”…and we have a a great and noble cause, America.