Patrick Henry once said, “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” And for me, those special qualities have always been epitomized in our courageous men and women in uniform.
I have written countless times on the need to support and serve our nation’s heroes who have selflessly volunteered to serve us. Few and far between are legitimate and proactive avenues through which the average citizen can return the favor and help our service members around the country.
Luckily, one of those opportunities is rolling through Texas this April, and it’s thanks to a group called Concerned Veterans for America. The nonprofit veterans and military families organization will be bringing its 2015 Defend Freedom Tour to Dallas, Houston and Austin from April 23 to April 25, so please mark your calendars.
The Defend Freedom Tour is a speaking program and concert tour that is traveling the country to galvanize like-minded veterans, military family members and patriotic Americans to strap up their boots again and fight here at home for the America they believe in.
America’s best can be seen in the faces of those who willingly signed on the dotted line to risk their lives in service of America and the freedoms it bestows upon its citizens. But as those of you who have sworn that oath know, things are not the same when you get home. It’s hard to find that sense of purpose again, and it’s very easy to get your benefits and put your days of service behind you.
However, CVA is one of those groups that are giving veterans purpose again. Its Defend Freedom Tour is working to re-enlist America’s best — and the loved ones who fought along with them — here at home to continue the mission of defending freedom.
If you’ve read my past columns, you’re well aware of the many issues that have plagued the veteran community just in the past year or so. CVA has been at the tip of the spear in the fight to give veterans the voice they deserve in Washington and to shed light on these issues in an effort to push for tangible and real change.
For example, when the Department of Veterans Affairs was blanketed in scandal last year, CVA was there to fight for much-needed accountability within the decaying culture at the department. Its fight materialized in the form of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which gave the department the ability to fire poorly performing executives.
But CVA is taking the fight even further. The group is not only fighting for veterans themselves but also striving to be a group that acts as an advocating voice for patriotic military families and Americans who support them, on issues across the board.
It addresses foreign policy and the lack of coherent strategies abroad, which has made America weaker and emboldened extremists everywhere. It addresses spending and debt, citing the country’s exploding debt as “our biggest national security threat.” And it addresses the overbearing government, which is wiggling its way into every aspect of our lives that it possibly can.
But how can veterans fight to fix these sorts of problems? Having spent considerable time fighting for veterans awareness, I found it easy to see just how extraordinary the experiences and points of view of our service members truly are.
They are a special breed, and CVA knows it.
Who better to speak on such issues as the VA scandal than the veterans actually affected by the failed government-run system? Who better to speak on failed foreign policy strategies than veterans who fought on the front lines that have since been lost?
If not veterans, then who? And if not now, when?
CVA is offering a platform and strategy for veterans to make their voices heard.
Washington and the media that support it have made clear that they will only make veterans a priority when headlines are appealing or politicians need votes.
Well, it’s about time veterans and like-minded Americans alike took matters into their own hands and made Washington listen to them instead of having it always be the other way around. That’s what CVA is trying to do with its Defend Freedom Tour. It wants to build a grass-roots movement that can’t be ignored by the headlines, politicians or pundits in our nation’s capital. It wants to drive the conversation and hold accountable those who continually make empty promises to America’s heroes.
If this is the kind of action and change that sounds like something you’d like to get behind, then join my friends at CVA at one of their events this April.
Each event will feature high-profile veteran speakers, such as New York Times best-selling author of “Outlaw Platoon” and decorated Army Ranger Sean Parnell, Gold Star mother and military families advocate Karen Vaughn and CVA’s own CEO, Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth. These are speakers who are true American heroes and pack inspirational messages of action and change that will leave you with chills.
The events will also include musical performances from the patriotic rock band Madison Rising and country music singer Ayla Brown.
For more information on Concerned Veterans for America or to RSVP for one of its Defend Freedom Tour stops, visit its website.
Ronald Reagan was right when he spoke about those who have fought for us: “We owe them a debt we can never repay. All we can do is remember them and what they did and why they had to be brave for us.”