Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Proft: What Veterans Day Means to Me

From the Campaign Office of Dan Proft for Governor

"I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

Captain Nathan Hale, a 21-year old officer in the Continental Army and a Yale man, uttered those famous words upon his execution at the hands of British forces.

233 years later--and in all the years in between--those words define the spirit of America's servicemen.

Our young men and women in the armed forces are quite a precocious bunch by trade.
They choose to answer a transcendental calling. They fill the void left by the patriots of previous generations to provide the vigilance required to preserve freedoms that may be God-given on paper but have always been hard-won in practice. They have an innate sense of history that evades the comprehension of tenured faculty at many of our nation's universities.

How many 20-year-olds do you know who are prepared to sacrifice their dreams and lay down their lives to advance the rights and dreams of strangers? The only ones I have ever met have been in uniform.

Their love of country has often and ashamedly gone unrequited. But no matter how many times our soldiers were under-funded in battle and under-rewarded at home, they have steadfastly served as exemplars for what America is and should be.

As someone who never served in the military, I know that not even Steven Spielberg can convey a true appreciation for the valor, the sense of honor, and the shared experience of America's freedom warriors.

Veterans Day for me then is a time to recall the sacrifice, honor the memory, and celebrate the lives of Nathan Hale and the tens of millions of American soldiers, including my departed grandfather, who for nearly two-and-a-half centuries have formed the soul of the greatest nation the world has ever seen.


Consider Operation Homefront-Illinois

Over the last couple of years, I have had the privilege to serve on the board of Operation Homefront-Illinois. Operation Homefront is a national non-profit with 30 state chapters that serves active duty military families with a spouse overseas and wounded warriors coming home. I currently serve as the Board Chairman of the Illinois chapter.

Our niche in the constellation of exceptional charities that serve military families is to provide tangible constituent service to Illinois servicemen and their families. We’ll get a leaky roof repaired, replace a broken water heater, pay a cell phone bill, get the transmission replaced in the family car: the exigencies of everyday life that many of us take for granted but present urgent challenges to military families.

Working with Homefront has been both an uplifting and a frustrating experience. The uplifting part is the toughness of military families who sacrifice so much and desire very little in return. The uplifting part is seeing volunteers come forward to help organize and run events like our Back-to-School Backpack Brigade program where we distribute school supplies to children of active duty military in Illinois.

The frustrating part has been to witness the struggles military families have in Illinois, particularly when those struggles come as the direct result of political leaders at the state and federal level who fail to keep our promises to our veterans. We want to do more.

I would invite you to learn more about Operation Homefront-Illinois by visiting:

We cannot content ourselves to remember our veterans solely on holidays. Please consider getting involved to support Operation Homefront-Illinois, your local VFW post or American Legion hall, or another organization that serves our military families in your community.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Dan Proft
Candidate for Governor

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