American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 3

FROM THE EDITOR Valor’s Champion By Tim Holbert In his must-read new book The Strongest Tribe chronicling the war in Iraq, Marine Corps veteran and author Bing West laments the fact that the American media has often been quick to denounce our military while generally ignoring our heroes. He writes, “When a single deed of negligence receives vastly more attention than a hundred deeds of valor, the country is diminished.” More directly, he writes, “When valor has no champion, America loses.” Most Americans look back with shame on the way our veterans were treated after Vietnam. A brave and noble generation of American servicemen came home to scorn, contempt, and ridicule. Never again, most agree, should our uniformed men and women be treated in such a fashion, regardless of our opinions of the foreign policy of the U.S. government. Yet while most Americans will say they support the troops, and most genuinely do appreciate their service, there is something missing. Acknowledgment of heroism among our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is often looked at by media as tacit support of the war or the administration. This should certainly not be the case. Heroism among those in uniform should be as lauded today as it was when they stormed the beaches of Normandy or scaled Mt. Suribachi. They have nothing to do with government policy; as Tennyson wrote, “Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die.” Yet, they are not victims, and should not be portrayed as such – they are soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines as great and noble as any in American history. Honor is their right, as it is what they have earned. A M E R IC AN VA LO R The mission of the American Veterans Center is to be “valor's champion.” Everything we do is designed to not only honor our veterans from every generation, but to spotlight their stories of heroism and to provide a forum for them to share their lessons with the public and future generations. Their selfless service is a model from which all of us can learn. That is why AMERICAN VALOR QUARTERLY is devoted to first-hand accounts from those who have borne witness to the great moments in American military history. It is also why the Center has produced a long history of documentary work, including the weekly radio series Veterans Chronicles, featuring interviews with America's most distinguished veterans and service members, as ݕ