In March, 1997, I took my first tentative steps onto the Internet highway. Within days I was experimenting with search engines and book marks. Confessing now that I had given little conscious thought to the POW/MIA issue until then, I nevertheless found myself using POW and MIA as my primary search criteria.
I don't know what I expected to find and was actually somewhat surprised to find myself typing that into the little text box. But there were several 'hits'.
One of them was Gunny's.
And I was hooked.
I created my first home page and adopted my first POW/MIA. But it wasn't enough for me, so I sent Gunny another email asking if there were anything with which I might help. I've been fortunate to be a part of Operation Just Cause ever since.
I've moved my pages a few of times, changed ISP's, even changed my 'handle'.
But some things have not changed.
My home page and most all of my pages are still about our POW/MIA's and always will be.
I promised Gunny that I would be involved 'for the duration'. That's one promise that will be kept.
And that is the perspective we have to take. We must accept that what we are after will not be accomplished soon. If it were simple and direct, we'd have been done long ago. We lose some members who come into OJC with a sense of drive and commitment. But it doesn't last. They become disenchanted with our seeming lack of results. They want it all and they want it now! Except it just doesn't work that way. We aren't in a race with anyone.
What we are trying to accomplish is to get our government to recant previous statements, policies, and positions. We not only want our POW/MIA's accounted for. We realize there are a lot of mountains that have to be moved in order to get this done.
Jimmy Carter pronounced all POW/MIA dead. For whatever reason, it
happened. That made it policy. Make that Policy. Capital P.
We live in a free country that supports all the tenants of a true democracy. America is a land of the people and by the people. Our government is designed to be for the people. But we forget that. Politicians serve us. They work for us. We employ them. If we are unsatisfied with their performance we should not extend or renew their contract.
right?! Sure. All we have to do is change the perspective of
the majority of American adults in this country. Most of whom do
not even vote.
I'm not talking about overthrowing the government. The only thing I advocate is reminding elected officials that we chose them. And remind them that this country's freedom is based on the patriotism of those who have gone before us. Those who have gone before include all those men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. And those that serve now. And those that will serve in the future.
All the servicemen and servicewomen deserve to be treated with respect and honesty. And they need to know that we, as a people, will bring them home should they fall in harm's way. NO MATTER WHAT. We have failed miserably to convince our politicians that this is a serious issue. They, in turn, have failed miserably to take actions necessary to bring our missing home.
We can't even get them to investigate a live sighting! If it is a valid sighting it gets classified. But the easiest remedy is to just denounce the person making the sighting. After all, we can't be getting valid information because we have never verified this person's story before. He/She therefore must be lying or mistaken. Our "investigators" use a reverse process of logic.
We might hear or read a statement that goes something like this, "We have no evidence that this person is alive so they must be dead. Therefore, we will not investigate a live sighting because this person is not alive."
Yep. We have our work cut out for us. One of the primary things we can do is to involve more people. We must get more people involved. Politicians respect numbers.
Perspective and perseverance.
We are making a difference and we can increase our efforts and our impact. But it must be done with the knowledge that we won't get the job done any time soon.
But We Will Get It Done!
Our best tool is our commitment. If you have adopted a missing hero, you should have written a letter.
Write another one. And another. And another. Don't just re-send the first one. Rework it. Add a spark of life to it. Get your elected officials to recognize who you are; who we are. If you resent being 'issued' a canned response to your letter (if you even got a response), make sure what you send isn't a canned letter. E-mail is fine but a written letter has more impact. Spend the postage. (and send the e-mail, too!)
And now is this new age of Homeland Defense, maybe the best bet is a fax rather than a letter. Maybe it will even work better since a fax seems to lend itself to a higher sense of "urgency" than a letter. But go ahead and send the emails, too!
It is the commitment of each of us that makes us stronger and more united. If we stay focused on our goals, even though we may need to be far-sighted to view the final conclusion, we can achieve them.
Speak to your employer about
flying a POW/MIA flag with the American flag.
I want to thank everyone involved with Operation Just Cause. Each of you is an important link in the chain we are forging.
We're a lot bigger now. A LOT bigger! And we are growing more every day. We are making changes within OJC to accomodate this growth and the changes that our size requires.
If you find yourself wishing there were more you could do, and you have some time to commit, let us know.
Operation Just Cause...for as long as it takes.
God Bless you all.