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A Challenge to Colin Kaepernick- by a Marine Combat Veteran August 31, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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Recently, professional football player Colin Kaepernick made a political statement by refusing to stand for the National Anthem.  Former (I know..you are never a “former Marine”) Marine Sgt. (Recon Marine, and Scout/Sniper) Travis Cox recorded a video explaining to Mr. Kaepernick challenging him to ‘do more’ than just ‘sit’.  I agree with Travis and want to add that respect is fundamentally different than ‘pride’.  I believe that Kaepernick’s actions were simply disrespectful. Please share.

An Apology to Mr. Khan, Mrs. Smith & Gold Star Families August 3, 2016

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HeadshotChris2013_COMPRecently, I wrote an ‘Open Letter’ to Mr. Khizr Khan that generated quite a bit of controversy.  I had referenced that Captain Khan’s sacrifice was his own.  In reading numerous Gold Star family comments from both sides of the isle, I believe an apology to the Khan family, Mrs. Smith and all Gold Star Families is in line. I was hopeful that I would have had the opportunity to make this last night in a more public forum but I was unable.

While I personally do believe Captain Khan’s sacrifice was his own, I have learned that my own position on this issue does not reflect the views of many Gold Star Families.  I should have been more circumspect in my comments and taken more time to understand the feelings of those families before opining.  There is no other way to say it: I am sorry and I have learned.

I want to thank those who took the time to comment directly and professionally to allow me to see both sides of this very sensitive position.

Respectfully,

Chris Mark

An Open Letter to Khizr Khan July 31, 2016

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Please read “An Apology to Mr. Khan, Mrs. Smith & Gold Star Families”

Dear Mr. Khan,

I want to preface this letter by stating that I respect your son’s sacrifice for this great nation.  By all accounts, he is a true hero that sacrificed himself in service to our country. For that I am thankful.

As a veteran, I watched your comments at the Democratic National Convention with a mixture of sadness, and anger.  The United States has a military comprised of volunteers.  Every single member has made the conscious choice to join the military and serve.  There is not a single service member who has been forced into service.  It is important for all service members (and apparently, their families) to understand that service to this great nation does not imbue one with special privileges or rights.  I found your comments troubling when you said: “Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Does it matter whether Mr. Trump has sacrificed “…nothing and no one?”…has Ms. Clinton “..sacrificed” for this nation?  How about Mr. Obama?   Your comment stating that Mr. Trump “…has sacrifice no one” is alarming.  Are you intimating that YOU sacrificed?  Sir, your son willingly sacrificed himself.   As a father I cannot imagine the pain you must feel but his sacrifice is his own.  He was not forced to serve.

I am troubled that you would allow a party that has little more than contempt for the US Service Member to parade you into the DNC to denounce Donald Trump.  Did you watch when protesters at the DNC booed and heckled Medal of Honor recipient  Capt. Florent Groberg? Did you notice your party interrupting the moment of silence for slain police officers?  Your own hypocrisy in not denouncing these acts and instead using the DNC as a platform to make a political point is disgraceful.  The simple fact is that whether one served or sacrificed does not give greater power to their statements.  One vote is as valuable as another.  That sir, is why our Country is great.  Your condemnation of one person for a statement while standing idly as your party disparages veterans and police officers is the height of hypocrisy.

To conflate the need to prevent potential terrorists from entering our country with the belief that ‘all Muslims’ should be banned is simply wrong and disingenuous. As a reminder, Mr. Trump said: ” “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” The irony of your son’s own death at the hands of these very people in Iraq should not be ignored.  I have little doubt that your son would have recognized the need to protect our country from these very people.  In fact, he held is own troops back so that he could check on a suspicious car.  Your son understood sacrifice and how to protect “his people”…’his soldiers’….’his fellow Americans’…

As you continue to make the media circuit and bask in the glow of affection cast upon you by a party that has little regard for your son’s own sacrifice, and veterans in general, I would ask you to consider your comments and your position more closely.

Respectfully,

Chris Mark

US Marine and Navy Veteran.

 

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin January 21, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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Dear Mrs. Palin,

I am a former US Marine and US Navy Officer with a Combat Action Ribbon as well as service connected disabilities. I am also a Republican.  I have also served with, and am friends with, dozens of combat veterans who suffer daily from various injuries and wounds to include PTSD.  I recently read your comments related to PTSD in which you attempted to excuse your son’s arrest on domestic abuse charges and firearm charges by referencing his supposed PTSD.   Based upon your previous comments I am not surprised that you would choose to use this very serious condition as a political football and, once again, attempt to divert blame from your own family’s abhorrent, violent behavior.

In 2014 your entire family was involved in a late night ‘drunken brawl’ at a party in which Track Palin (the accused domestic abuser) was involved in a bloody fight.  While you publicly stated how proud you were at your children’s violent actions, maybe this should have been a sign that Track has a problem.  It is certainly curious that you did not feel the need to reference his supposed PTSD in this situation and instead stated: “…my kids’ defense of family makes my heart soar!”  Maybe, instead of encouraging Track’s violence, you should have taken the opportunity to get him help.  Maybe, instead of being the result of PTSD, your son was simply trying to uphold the stated Palin family values and “…make your heart soar” by abusing a woman.

PTSD is stigmatized in the media and not well understood by the general public.  An estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States.  This is nearly 8,000 veterans who take their lives every year.  Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) stated: “Every day in the United States, 22 veterans succumb to suicide — losing their personal battle to invisible wounds of war.”   Veterans who have willingly given so much in service to their country should not have to bear the burden of being further stigmatized by your ignorant and foolish statements.

While I do not propose to speak for all veterans, I am clearly not alone in my views regarding your unfortunate statements.  They were unfortunate for the many veterans who face further disdain and discrimination based upon your inaccurate and ignorant portrayal of those who suffer with PTSD as well as the causes of the condition.

While I would personally prefer that you simply avoid public life and simply fade away,  if you insist on trying to use your “celebrity status” for a cause, please educate yourself on the facts of PTSD and try to help veterans by using your significant influence in a more productive, and less political manner.  There are a number of veteran’s organizations to which you can donate time, money and energy to make a difference. Two organizations you may want to consider is the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation and the Recon & Sniper Foundation.

Regards,

Chris Mark

 

Happy 240th Marines!….”From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli…” November 10, 2015

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IwoJima240 years ago..on November 10th 1775…in a pub (go figure) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the Marines were born.  According to USMC Press.com..“On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned Samuel Nicholas to raise two Battalions of Marines. That very day, Nicholas set up shop in Tun Tavern. He appointed Robert Mullan, then the proprietor of the tavern, to the job of chief Marine Recruiter — serving, of course, from his place of business at Tun Tavern. Prospective recruits flocked to the tavern, lured by (1) cold beer and (2) the opportunity to serve in the new Corps of Marines. So, yes, the U.S. Marine Corps was indeed born in Tun Tavern. Needless to say, both the Marine Corps and the tavern thrived during this new relationship.”

From the “Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli..”…and to Baghdad and beyond, the US Marines have been ready and willing to lead the charge into battle to carry the flag of the United States!…Those who have had the luxury..or displeasure…of meeting US Marines have very strong opionions…here are some comments throughout history of my beloved Corps…

Eleanor Roosevelt said:

“The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”

And…Army General William Thornson said:

“There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.”

While there are many comments about US Marines…I would agree with these two…

To all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice…I will see you in Valhalla…Godspeed my brothers…

Semper Fi! and Happy 240th!….“Never above you…never below you..always beside you….”

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