You know, there are times when I just want to get away from it all. I’m looking forward to a few days on Cayman Brac next month diving with Dive Pirates along with my Wounded Warrior brothers and sisters. There’s so much angst and vitriol going around that I know some of you just wanna shut it all out…me too.
However, it is a duty, a calling, to stand on freedom’s rampart and be a messenger to y’all offering thoughts, perspectives, and insights. And as I’ve said before, we’re going to be dealing with this whole “President Trump shared classified information with the Russians” for a few days. The real question should be, who was it who took it upon themselves to leak classified information to the Washington Post? I’ve said the Democrats have a conviction looking for evidence, and with the assistance of the “Deep State” they’re going to achieve the objective of undermining, delegitimizing, and sabotaging President Trump by any means necessary.
If this is the level of depraved mind that has overtaken the progressive socialist left, there’s only one recourse: deny them power. That also means President Trump cannot continue to throw them “red meat” because they are ravenous, salivating wolves out for the kill.
But, with all this going on here in America, and the degraded security situation abroad, I found a ray of light, a beacon of hope Tuesday afternoon. My faith in our Constitutional Republic was restored. My energy was rejuvenated.
For those of you who don’t know my story, I grew up in the famed Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta, Georgia. I will never forget that very special day when my dad, along with Mom, challenged me to be the first military officer in our family. That happened back in 1975, and in 1976 I was a cadet in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at Henry Grady High School. My instructors there were LTC Pagonis, Major Heredia, Master Sergeant Buchanan, and Sergeant First Class McMichael. These were men — all combat veterans from Korea and Vietnam — who saw something in me I didn’t see in myself.
They set me on a path that resulted in me being the fella that I am today: strong, resolute, committed, convicted, courageous, and determined. They took Buck and Snooks’ middle son and ensured that the lessons and discipline I got at home followed me to school. I ended up being the JROTC cadet battalion commander, student body president, track team captain, and recipient of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Cup as the Best All-Round Graduate of the Class of 1979.
I’ve always sought to give back to the JROTC programs wherever I was after retiring from the U.S. Army. And here in Dallas I have continued that promise in sponsoring the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) JROTC Academic Excellence awards program.
For the second year, I’ve the distinct pleasure and honor to stand with the top four schools and present them with their awards. The DISD JROTC is made up of 21 Army, one Marine, and one Navy program. The academic excellence awards are the culmination of a year-long competition that incorporates portfolios (student thesis papers), SAT/ACT, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), essay writing, National Honor Society participation, and college acceptance rates and credits.
As of this year: 30 percent of the JROTC Cadets in the DISD are receiving college credits, 58 percent received college acceptance letters, four of the schools progressed to the state level in the cyber patriot competition, and 19 of the 21 Army JROTC programs increased their academic scores.
These are the types of stories that our local media should be celebrating, but we hear nothing, crickets, but if these same kids were engaged in illicit behavior they would be front page. We must begin to recognize these positives, these young men and women who represent the finest in values and character. If we want more of this type of achievement, we should share it, and let these kids know how proud we are. And no, there was no media coverage for this event for the second straight year. As a matter of fact, there was no representative from the DISD. Heck, you’d think the superintendent would have been there at Bryan Adams High, the host for this year.
The fourth place recipient, Adamson High School, excelled in accomplishing an incredible feat: 42 of their 42 senior cadets all received college acceptance letters. The third place recipient, Townview High School, maintained 57 percent of their cadets in the National Honor Society. The second place recipient, Skyline High School, excelled in the STEM competition known as Cyber Patriot, going beyond the Ssate level. The top academic cxcellence recipient, and host for the awards ceremony, Bryan Adams High School, displayed balance and excellence across all the evaluated criteria. And in my conversations with the principal of Adams High, this year they reached $8 million in college scholarships for their graduating seniors.
As I stood with these young men and women in this small room I felt immense pride. Here before us are the next generation of leaders in our nation…not those undisciplined cupcakes at Cal-Berkeley who are torching buildings and destroying property. I saw these young people who took pride in wearing the uniform of our nation. I recalled my days in JROTC forty years ago. These are the young Americans we should embrace and encourage, as they truly inspire us.
I find it appalling and disgusting when there are these delusional adults, yes, liberal progressives, who attack such a program as JROTC and deny this opportunity for young men and women to be challenged to achieve greater. And the men who continue to serve after their retirement from active duty service to be the role models that so many of our young people need is beyond admirable. But ask yourself, when was the last time any news media highlighted the JROTC program, and the instructors? We certainly do know when a teacher exhibits deplorable character. Why not highlight these stellar “Guardians of the Republic?”
And just so you know, our high school JROTC programs are struggling under the atmosphere of sequestration and budget cuts. But it’s a blessing and honor to be able to sponsor this awards ceremony. Presenting these cadets the reward — not a participation trophy — that they have earned over an academic year is special. But ask yourself, is this being replicated all across America?
I will be watching to see if this story gets broad social media sharing. If it doesn’t, it’s quite telling. And if we are too busy or ashamed to share a good news a story about the future leaders of America and their accomplishments and dedication to excellence…then what kind of society are we becoming?
Steadfast and Loyal to all 23 DISD JROTC programs. Y’all make this ol’ Soldier proud!
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]