OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA ON HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY “A PROMISED LAND” Part 79 PRESIDENT OBAMA THANK YOU FOR ENCOURAGING OUR WOUNDED WARRIORS!! “And yet each time I entered a room, each time I shook a hand, I could not ignore how incredibly young most of these service members were, many of them barely out of high school”

Timothy Payne, who provided this image, visited with Mr. Obama and shared a laugh.
Timothy Payne, who provided this image, visited with Mr. Obama and shared a laugh.

President Obama Speaks at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride Event

Former President George W. Bush gives a tour of his gallery of Warrior Warrir paintings

https://youtu.be/34mx9lRXobk

President surprises wounded warrior

February 8, 2021

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

There are several issues raised in your book that I would like to discuss with you such as the minimum wage law, the liberal press, the cause of 2007 financial meltdown, and especially your pro-choice (what I call pro-abortion) view which I strongly object to on both religious and scientific grounds, Two of the most impressive things in your book were your dedication to both the National Prayer Breakfast (which spoke at 8 times and your many visits to the sides of wounded warriors!!

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on:

ONE AFTERNOON a couple of months after the Af-Pak announcement, I walked alone across the South Lawn—trailed by a military aide carrying the football and my veterans affairs staffer, Matt Flavin—to board the Marine One helicopter and make the brief flight to Maryland for the first of what would be regular visits to Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. On arrival, I was greeted by commanders of the facility, who gave me a quick overview of the number and condition of wounded warriors on-site before leading me through a maze of stairs, elevators, and corridors to the main patients’ ward.
     For the next hour, I proceeded from room to room, sanitizing my hands and donning scrubs and surgical gloves where necessary, stopping in the hallway to get some background on the recovering service member from hospital staffers before knocking softly on the door.
     Though patients at the hospitals came from every branch of the military, many who were there during my first few years in office were members of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps that patrolled the insurgent-dominated areas of Iraq and Afghanistan and had been injured by gunfire or IEDs. Almost all were male and working-class: whites from small rural towns or fading manufacturing hubs, Blacks and Hispanics from cities like Houston or Trenton, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from California. Usually they had family members sitting with them—mostly parents, grandparents, and siblings, though if the service member was older, there would be a wife and kids too—toddlers squirming in laps, five-year-olds with toy cars, teenagers playing video games. As soon as I entered the room, everyone would shift around, smiling shyly, appearing not quite sure what to do. For me, this was one of the vagaries of the job, the fact that my presence reliably caused a disruption and a bout of nervousness among those I was meeting. I tried always to lighten the mood, doing what I could to put people at ease.
     Unless fully incapacitated, the service members would usually raise their bed upright, sometimes pulling themselves to a seated position by reaching for the sturdy metal handle on the bedpost. Several insisted on hopping out of bed, often balancing on their good leg to salute and shake my hand. I‘d ask them about their hometown and how long they’d been in the service. I’d ask them how they got their injury and how soon they might be starting rehab or be getting fitted for a prosthetic. We often talked sports, and some would ask me to sign a unit flag hung on the wall, and I’d give each service member a commemorative challenge coin. Then we’d all position ourselves around the bed as Pete Souza took pictures with his camera and with their phones, and Matt would give out business cards so they could call him personally at the White House if they needed anything at all.
     How those men inspired me! Their courage and determination, their insistence that they’d be back at it in no time, their general lack of fuss. It made so much of what passes for patriotism—the gaudy rituals at football games, the desultory flag waving at parades, the blather of politicians—seem empty and trite. The patients I met had nothing but praise for the hospital teams responsible for their treatment—the doctors, nurses, and orderlies, most of them service members themselves but some of them civilians, a surprising number of them foreign-born, originally from places like Nigeria, El Salvador, or the Philippines. Indeed, it was heartening to see how well these wounded warriors were cared for, beginning with the seamless, fast-moving chain that allowed a Marine injured in a dusty Afghan village to be medevaced to the closest base, stabilized, then transported to Germany and onward to Bethesda or Walter Reed for state-of-the-art surgery, all in a matter of days.
     Because of that system—a melding of advanced technology, logistical precision, and highly trained and dedicated people, the kind of thing that the U.S. military does better than any other organization on earth—many soldiers who would have died from similar wounds during the Vietnam era were now able to sit with me at their bedside, debating the merits of the Bears versus the Packers. Still, no level of precision or care could erase the brutal, life-changing nature of the injuries these men had suffered. Those who had lost a single leg, especially if the amputation was below the knee, often described themselves as being lucky. Double or even triple amputees were not uncommon, nor were severe cranial trauma, spinal injuries, disfiguring facial wounds, or the loss of eyesight, hearing, or any number of basic bodily functions. The service members I met were adamant that they had no regrets about sacrificing so much for their country and were understandably offended by anyone who viewed them with even a modicum of pity. Taking their cues from their wounded sons, the parents I met were careful to express only the certainty of their child’s recovery, along with their deep wells of pride.
     And yet each time I entered a room, each time I shook a hand, I could not ignore how incredibly young most of these service members were, many of them barely out of high school. I couldn’t help but notice the rims of anguish around the eyes of the parents, who themselves were often younger than me. I wouldn’t forget the barely suppressed anger in the voice of a father I met at one point, as he explained that his handsome son, who lay before us likely paralyzed for life, was celebrating his twenty-first birthday that day, or the vacant expression on the face of a young mother who sat with a baby cheerfully gurgling in her arms, pondering a life with a husband who was probably going to survive but would no longer be capable of conscious thought.
     Later, toward the end of my presidency, The New York Times would run an article about my visits to the military hospitals. In it, a national security official from a previous administration opined that the practice, no matter how well intentioned, was not something a commander in chief should do—that visits with the wounded inevitably clouded a president’s capacity to make clear-eyed, strategic decisions. I was tempted to call that man and explain that I was never more clear-eyed than on the flights back from Walter Reed and Bethesda. Clear about the true costs of war, and who bore those costs. Clear about war’s folly, the sorry tales we humans collectively store in our heads and pass on from generation to generation—abstractions that fan hate and justify cruelty and force even the righteous among us to participate in carnage. Clear that by virtue of my office, I could not avoid responsibility for lives lost or shattered, even if I somehow justified my decisions by what I perceived to be some larger good.
     Looking through the helicopter window at the tidy green landscape below, I thought about Lincoln during the Civil War, his habit of wandering through makeshift infirmaries not so far from where we were flying, talking softly to soldiers who lay on flimsy cots, bereft of antiseptics to stanch infections or drugs to manage pain, the stench of gangrene everywhere, the clattering and wheezing of impending death.
     I wondered how Lincoln had managed it, what prayers he said afterward. He must have known it was a necessary penance. A penance I, too, had to pay.

Obama visits wounded at Walter Reed

Kevin Freking, The Associated PressJanuary 26, 2016

BETHESDA, MD – JANUARY 25: (AFP OUT) US President Barack Obama steps off Marine One at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center January 25, 2016 in Bethesda, Maryland. President Obama will visit with wounded service members. (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images) 

BETHESDA, Md. — President Barack Obama is spending part of Monday visiting with wounded and ill soldiers and their families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The president visits the nation’s largest military hospital a few times each year. They take place out of the public view. The president helicoptered from the snowed-in White House to the hospital, which is located in a Maryland suburb just outside the nation’s capital.

The visit lasted about a half hour. The White House says Obama met with three service members as well as family. Two are serving in the Army and the other in the Navy


Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

Lt. Cmdr. John Terry doing lunges with President Obama at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Commander Terry, who provided the image, said, “I will remember that day until I die.”

Lt. Cmdr. John Terry doing lunges with President Obama at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Commander Terry, who provided the image, said, “I will remember that day until I die.”

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