Thursday, April 3, 2008

Our New Heroes

One of the golf magazines I receive is called Partners Magazine. I joined the Partners Club and this is their magazine given to club members. Tom Lehman is the Club President. He is a Pro Golfer.

In his column in a recent issue he wrote about "My New Heroes" concerning his trip to Iraq to visit the troops on behalf of the PGA TOUR. I thought it was good enough to share with you.

President's Letter

My New Heroes

I am writing this article as I sit in a comfortable chair looking out over a beautiful lake toward a magnificent palace built by a very bad man. I am writing this while under the protection of some incredibly good men and women, whom I had the humbling honor of spending a week with last November. The palace is in Baghdad, the builder a man whose name need not be written, and the good people I am proud to call friends serve in the United States military. They are the greatest Americans I have ever met.

It's not every day that you fly to Ramadi in the morning, to Taqaddum in the afternoon and spend the night in Fallujah. It's not every day that you meet companies of Marines, soldiers and seamen in remote places like Hit, Korean Village, and Haditha Dam, all shaking your hand and saying thank you for coming to Iraq.

It's not every day that you get briefed by a two-star general on the state of the war and the ongoing mission of our military. It's not every day that you get to correct the commander of all multi-national forces in Iraq when he thanks you for being here. "No, sir," you say, "you have it all wrong. It's us who are thankful for all YOU do." It's not every day you get to feel this proud to be an American.

It's because of the PGA TOUR and the recognition we get that David Feherty, Howard Twitty, Joe Inman, Butch Harmon, Tom Watson and myself were invited to spend Thanksgiving in Iraq. I'm here because I play golf. It's because I'm an American that I am writing about this topic with this simple message: We Are Winning!

In 2006, Ramadi was said to be the most dangerous city on earth, with no hope of achieving peace. Today, our military leaders walk down main street, rubbing shoulders with the local population, without body armor and without fear. There has not been an attack on the base in Fallujah in more than nine months.

There are many reasons for the change, but at the very top of the list are the courage, persistence, integrity and intelligence of our people in uniform. This magazine is about golf, but I'm compelled to write about what I saw and the people making it happen. I respect them and am in awe of them. They are my new heroes. I love these men and women. They inspire me, and all I can say to them is ---Hoo ah!

God Bless you, my friends, and may God continue to bless America.

Tom Lehman, Club President
There is a lot of talk now about Iraq and our need to get out. I believe that if this would happen now that the next step for the attacks would be on our shores. We fought a 4 1/2 year war in the 1940's and we still have bases and troops in Japan, Germany, and Italy. That war ended 62 years ago! Korea Conflict came next in 1950 and ended in 1953. We still have troops in Korea for 55 years now. I don't understand why the urgent need to get out of this conflict when civilization as we know it could change drastically. In five years we have lost 4,000 of our military personnel. Any loss of life is too many. But in 1944 we lost that many in one day at Normandy. Yes, it is a different day and time but we need to "see the big picture". Some people just want to hear the sound bites and stir up people in mass hysteria. I'll write more about this later. Thanks for listening.

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