My name is Danny Ingram and I am a veteran of six years of service in the United States Army. I have been very proud of my service to our country. I have believed there is no greater mission and no more honorable duty than the defense of the United States Constitution. I have been grateful for the young men and women who are still willing to answer their country’s call to serve.
There is a sacred trust that forms the backbone of our military services, a trust that soldiers will be willing to do whatever is necessary to complete their mission, even to the point of sacrificing their lives. But this trust is based on soldiers being asked to make such a sacrifice only in the face of immediate danger, and only when every other means has been exhausted to protect our country. The Bush administration has betrayed that trust by asking our soldiers to fight and die in Iraq to defend the United States against a threat that never existed. I am broken at the loss of brave friends like Diego Rincon and Alan Rogers, and I am angry at a betrayal that has damaged our great nation’s reputation as a defender of justice and truth. Our soldiers are no longer seen as liberators but invaders. George Bush has brought shame to our country’s uniform, my uniform. He has dishonored my service.
Barack Obama has not served in the military, but he understands why the invasion of Iraq was wrong, and it doesn’t take a veteran to see that this unnecessary war is a disgrace to that long line of men and women who have given their lives to defend our nation’s freedom. Barack Obama is a man of great inspiration who can create real change, and we need that type of inspired leadership if we are to restore our nation’s hard earned place as a champion of liberty. Barack Obama understands that the war in Iraq is not only a distraction from the critical war on terror, but is an ironic drain on the resources necessary to win in Afghanistan where we cannot afford to lose. We need a new commander-in-chief who can forge a new strategy for victory. We need change. We need Barack Obama.
Lastly, I have been sickened to see how “patriotism” has been redefined to honor those who blindly follow misguided leaders while shouting empty slogans like “support the troops” and accusing anyone who disagrees with their narrow viewpoint of being “traitors”. I am disgusted by the dismantling of our freedom under the false guise of protecting our nation’s security. I am tired of relentless attacks on minorities as not being “true Americans”. Leadership by fear, greed, and hate must come to an end. That is not America. That is not freedom. That is not the great experiment set forth by the founders of this nation. I believe that Barack Obama can get America back on track as the defender of individual rights. I believe that Barack Obama can restore our nation’s founding principle of building one great nation from an increasingly diverse group of people where the inherent dignity and possibility of every citizen can be respected despite the characteristics that make us different. Obama is himself a symbol of that hopeful experiment, and I believe he is a leader who can put us back on the track to fulfill the vision of “liberty and justice for all”. I believe he can give me back my honor as a veteran of the United States military. He gives me pride. He gives me hope. He gives me trust that real change is possible, and that change begins with me.