By: John MacDonald – June, 2014
It’s a Sunday and it’s sunny. A beautiful day. The family woke up this morning in Rhode Island at our camp after a fun night at Gillette Stadium, watching country music legend George Strait play. We then spent our day running back home and then off to my oldest daughter’s lacrosse game. Family joined us at the game and we happened to see some friends as well. It’s just one of those days that you hope you’ll have, before your weekend starts.
As my Sunday progressed, I often thought of the headline news that I and the rest of the country awoke to. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl an American Soldier held captive for five years was released and now free once again. What was Sgt. Bergdahl’s Sunday like? What had his last five years of Sundays been like? I kept thinking about these questions, when another came into my mind. Why was Bowe Bergdahl a mystery to most American’s as they woke up Sunday morning and heard his name for the first time?
I knew the name of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. I spoke about Sgt. Bergdahl a few times on both my radio shows on 980AM, WCAP. However I first knew the name because of an organization called Rolling Thunder, who introduced Bowe’s story to me well over a year ago. I knew Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s name, because of a man named Frank Ardita, a member of Rolling Thunder (pictured above holding a sign to bring Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home). During three events in April, dedicating POW/MIA Chairs at the Coffee Cann Café in Lawrence and events held at Lowell and Lawrence, MA city halls, I watched Frank Ardita’s unwavering effort to highlight the plight of Sgt. Bergdahl and his family. I watched Frank Ardita as he refused relief from holding that sign, as his legs and back ached and wanted to give out. Frank Ardita, a retired Massachusetts State Trooper, stood for hours, determined as ever to make sure the message of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be seen and heard that day.
So as my Sunday progressed, I wondered why this amazing story of a modern day prisoner of war wasn’t big news before his release. Why wasn’t this the lead story each night on the evening news prior to his release? I wondered why there wasn’t a running tally of days being counted, for this young man and his family at the start or the end of each news broadcast of every major network in the country? Why members of Congress and our political figures didn’t hold hearings, press conferences or town halls demanding that Sgt. Bergdahl be returned home?
Why hadn’t the name Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl become a household name until his return? Why?
As this story unfolds, we’ll discover more about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Political parties will blame one another for how Bowe was released, when he was released, the timing of his release. I am sure we’ll hear Bowe’s name and learn more about his life now that he’s home, than we ever did during his captivity. So why? Is it because we don’t care? Is it because our nation doesn’t, at times, have its priorities straight? The answer is probably yes, at least somewhat.
My answer. It’s time for more returning veterans to run for political office. All too often, those who don’t serve, don’t know and those who don’t know, don’t care. I won’t say every politician who hasn’t served in the military doesn’t care, but unfortunately the majority just don’t seem to care enough. It’s time for veterans, and only veterans, to run places like the VA. It’s time that those who understand what makes this country so different, so special and worth fighting for, to take the mantle of leadership from local selectman, all the way to the White House.
I point out the last five years of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity as the example for my concern. Concern for my country and for people like Bowe in the future. It’s time for returning veterans over the last five, ten and twenty years to take up yet another cause. It’s time to serve our country once again and help restore the patriotism and the pride that comes with that. I find the evidence too compelling to make me believe otherwise. Veteran’s as politicians will prioritize issues like the VA and stories like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity. As scandals like the VA, incidents and issues like Bowe’s take place, soldiers like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, should have their own backing them up. We the American people would be well served by our veterans protecting our interests as well. It’s time and we need to recruit our veterans… now!