As the nation, if not the Commander-in-Chief, observed the 75th anniversary of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7, it became obvious that the “Greatest Generation,” will soon be no more.
Fewer and fewer members of that extraordinary group of men who were born during World War I, saw their parents struggle through the Depression and came of age in planes over Germany and the Pacific, on the cliffs of Normandy and along the Bataan Death March, are able to participate in the annual commemoration at the site of the attack that answered Winston Churchill’s prayers and thrust the U.S. into World War II.
One of them, Harold Estes, died at age 97, enlisted in 1934, serving 23 years before, during and after that war, retiring as a Master Chief Boatswains Mate and ending his days in what he called a“rest home” in Hawaii.
Before he died, however, Estes put pen to paper and wrote the new president, Barack Obama in 2009, a letter straight from the heart – and the gut, sparing the man he called “young man” none of the hard truths he felt Obama needed to hear and that he felt entitled by virtue of his age and service to tell him.
The letter was written just as Obama took off on his “apology” tour in the months after his inauguration, but as the president completes eight years in office, it sounds tragically timely as Estes almost predicted the direction the Obama years would take – disrespect for law enforcement and the military, obsession with race, and a lack of love for America.
Dear President Obama,
One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.
I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish. I can’t figure out what country you are the president of… You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like: We’re no longer a Christian nation, America is arrogant and (Your wife even announced to the world,” America is mean-spirited. ” Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)
After 9/11 you said, ‘America hasn’t lived up to her ideals.’
Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn’t mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII..
Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man: Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don’t, I’ll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue . You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.
I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you’re the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you’re not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you’re thinking of.
You’re not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That’s not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.
And I sure as hell don’t want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle… “
Harold B. Estes
Thank you for your 23 years of service and your fearless honesty.
Rest in Peace, Master Chief Estes.
Originally published on usherald.com