Excerpt from General Peter Pace's parting speech:"Our democracy is strengthened by divergent views and dialogue about those views when that dialogue is conducted in a civil manner, in a gentlemanly way, in a way that allows people to argue on the merits of what they believe and to understand that what they believe is part of the answer and if they have the willingness to cooperate to find the right answer for our country," he said during a Pentagon ceremony held at nearby Fort Myers.
“What worries me is that in some instances right now we have individuals who are more interested in making somebody else look bad than they are in finding the right solution. They are more interested in letting their personal venom come forward instead of talking about how do we get from where we are to where we need to be. And if we as a country can accept the fact that, yes, fellow citizens have a right to object -- I can hear voices right now of folks out in the street who are exercising their right of free speech in this democracy to say what they want to say.
“And I take pride in knowing that the men and women on the parade deck in front of us are going to ensure that they continue to have that opportunity. But I want them to understand -- I just want everyone to understand that this dialogue is not about can we vote our way out of a war.
I just want everyone to understand that this dialogue is not about 'Can we vote our way out of a war.' We have an enemy who has declared war on us. We are in a war. They want to stop us from living the way we want to live our lives.
"So the dialogue is not about 'Are we in a war' but how and where and when to best fight that war to preserve our freedom and to preserve our way of life and to do so with the least damage to our own society and the least damage to those who we're fighting against so we can put the pieces back together on the end of this. We will prevail. There's no doubt about that."
Excerpt from Lynne Pace's statement:
Nearly 40 years ago, Lynne Pace dedicated her life to her family. Little did she know at the time that her family ultimately would include the nation's 2.4 million servicemembers.
Little did she know that the young Marine officer she married would go on to become the first Marine to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military's top ranking officer.
She encouraged military commanders to take the time to thank military families for the sacrifices they're enduring so their military members can serve. "Without the spouses' support at home, they can't do it. The expression 'If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy' is true. Because the deployments are long and frequent; it's hard.
"I think everybody, military commanders, civilians -- we all need to thank these families. We're thanking our troops. We need to remember our families. If your next door neighbor is serving in the military, think about what can you do to say thanks. Watch the kids; give them a spa day; fix the car -- do something to say thanks."
Lynne said she believes all Americans have a responsibility to help servicemembers and their families in any way they can. "We're a country at war; we all need to do something," she said.
Lynne regularly visits troops at military medical centers in the Washington, D.C., area, throughout the states, and overseas when she travels with the chairman. "Sometimes I drive home from the hospital sobbing the whole way home," she admitted. "Other times I'm thinking about the people I've talked to who want to do certain things. I try to stay positive. Every visit is different. But when you leave, you know it's the right thing to do. It doesn't take a lot to go hug somebody and thank them."
She described wounded troops' attitudes as "unbelievable -- their will to get better, to do something productive with their lives, and their desire to go back and finish the job and be with their buddies."
"The first time I went (to visit wounded troops in a hospital), I was just awestruck," she said. "Somebody asked, 'Where do we get these kids?' and the response was 'Hometown USA.' These are the sons and daughters of Americans out there who have taught them to help others so they can have a better life.
"I think that's what keeps me going," Lynne concluded. "They are just so positive. Yes, they have their bad days, but for the most part, they're looking at tomorrow. If I can help them do that, I want to."
These are great Americans. I will ever be grateful for their service to our country.
I wish them much happiness in their retirement and I hope they write a book!!!!