The Corner

Secretary Gates and the Wounded Navy SEAL

This is an update on two previous posts: the one in which I said that Bob Gates had been inspired by our military men and women, and the other in which I posted a sign that a wounded Navy SEAL had put on his door.

This is from a speech that Secretary Gates delivered in October, in which he refers to that Navy SEAL, one of many wounded warrior that “lifted you up.” That’s a concept that is hard to accept for those who haven’t actually visited Walter Reed or Bethesda Naval Hospital, but Gates is entirely right.

To our wounded warriors: I have been amazed by your grit and resilience. To be honest, when I first learned that part of my duties as Secretary of Defense was to visit the wounded at Walter Reed and other hospitals, I wasn’t sure I could handle it – or what I would say. Seeing firsthand the incredible sacrifice our men and women in uniform had made, I wasn’t sure I could keep it together. But people kept telling me, “You don’t understand, they’ll lift you up.”

And they did. And they do whenever I visit there and other facilities. Like the wounded officer Lt. Dan Moran at Brooke Army Burn Center who reminded me that I handed him his diploma at Texas A&M in August of 2002. He also told me he had the doctors play the “Aggie War Hymn” during his surgery. Former President Bush and I presented him with a medal for valor at half-time at a Texas A&M home football game in front of 85,000 wildly cheering admirers – the kind of public acclaim all our wounded warriors deserve.

Or Lieutenant Jason Redman. He is a SEAL – part of the Navy’s elite Special Ops team – who took rounds from a machine-gun in his face and arm in Iraq last year. Jason posted a bright orange sign on the door of his hospital room at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center. It read: “Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.”

Michael LedeenMichael Ledeen is an American historian, philosopher, foreign-policy analyst, and writer. He is a former consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. ...

Most Popular

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Might Be Winning

I’m far too dumb to be able to shed any light on polls, but I do know something about celebrity and I think I can guarantee this: If President Trump wins re-election, Robert Cahaly is going to become very famous very quickly. Who is Robert Cahaly? The chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group, the only major ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Might Be Winning

I’m far too dumb to be able to shed any light on polls, but I do know something about celebrity and I think I can guarantee this: If President Trump wins re-election, Robert Cahaly is going to become very famous very quickly. Who is Robert Cahaly? The chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group, the only major ... Read More

Trump: Yes

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More

Trump: Yes

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More