Memorial Day is more than BBQs and Department Store Sales

‘The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.” Calvin Coolidge

What do you think about as Memorial Day approaches?  If you were being honest, you might say you were dreaming of joyful 3 day weekend to kickoff the start of summer. In all reality, the true meaning of Memorial Day has become an afterthought to BBQs, a day off work, or the big sale going on at Macy’s. At best, Memorial Day is thought of as one of those ‘veterans holidays.’ But it’s more than that.

Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971 through an act of Congress. It is a day meant to honor and respect those brave men and women of our armed forces who died serving our country. Furthermore, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act into law in 2000.  The Act was created to unite the nation each Memorial Day and hold a moment of silence at 3pm to remember our nation’s fallen warriors. It is not to be confused with Veterans Day, a national holiday in November that recognizes all who have served in our military, both living and deceased.  Memorial Day is most often recognized through ceremonies at veteran’s cemeteries, community parades, and other patriotic events. Memorial Day is a day to put partisan beliefs aside and remember that you are an American first while honoring those who laid down their lives in service to our nation.

With every passing year, the understanding and appreciation of Memorial Day is diminished by the undeniably growing military-civilian divide. With our men and women in uniform representing less than 1% of the U.S. population, it’s understandable that appreciation for the holiday has faded drastically.  Fewer families have immediate family members who have served. Without that direct connection, many have a difficult time understanding exactly what it means to serve your country or why there’s a need for appreciation for those who have died doing so. Even less know what it’s like to know someone who has died for his or her country.

The men and women who gave their lives serving our nation helped defend our freedoms and liberties while preserving our country as a whole. They gave their lives so that each and every one of us could continue to live our lives as free Americans. As a nation, it is crucial that we never forget to honor those individuals who understood that freedom is not free, answered the call to defend our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice for it.

This Memorial Day I urge you to do something different. Instead of just using the day to forget about work and celebrate the beginning of summer, attend a Memorial Day event. Watch a parade. Go to a remembrance ceremony. Visit a veteran’s cemetery. Help educate others about Memorial Day and bring awareness to the holiday. Whatever it is you chose to do, remember to honor those who so bravely died in service to our nation.

And for those of you who do remember what the holiday is for and choose to honor our fallen military members, thank you. We need more patriotic Americans like you who understand and never forget that there is a price for freedom.

Additionally published: http://www.examiner.com/article/memorial-day-is-more-than-bbqs-and-department-store-sales

Follow Amber on Twitter: @AmberBarno

The Absent President: Obama’s Legacy

“This is the most transparent administration in history” ~ President Barack Obama

For a president who is so vastly driven by appearance and perception that he never bothered to leave the campaign trail even after he won his second term, it’s a shame Obama’s legacy will be drastically different from how he imagined it five short years ago. History will remember Obama as a President who paralleled the Carter Administration for weak leadership and socialist policies. But in a recent turn of events, as we’ve learned over the past week, Obama may be more closely tied to Nixon’s legacy, one that was plagued with scandals.

The Obama Administration lasted four long years by relentlessly flirting with the American public, who seemed infatuated with his charm.  Few seemed concerned with his socialist agenda, fiscal irresponsibility, or lack of leadership. Most were too enthralled with the lavish parties, his charismatic presentation at the teleprompter, and how down to earth he appeared as he would make personal phone calls to average citizens who wanted free birth control. People chose to see those actions as leadership rather than the façade it was.

But now, after a rocky start to his second term, the Obama honeymoon seems to be coming to an end. Scandal after scandal and lie after lie is being revealed. Three revelations of illegal activity, lying, and bias came out of the White House within the past week:  Benghazi cover-up, the IRS selectively targeting conservative groups, and most recently, the Department of Justice illegally spying on the Associated Press.

The Obama Administration’s attitude towards these events is subdued at best, proceeding as if these exposures are an immense waste of time and being blown out of proportion by crazy right-wing conspiracy theorists. But more importantly, there’s a reoccurring theme associated with these scandals: The President of the United States claims no responsibility for the government he is responsible for.  The go-to answer they have used repetitively is that there will be full investigations and those responsible will be held accountable. Really? We’ve all heard that one before.

The truth is, the President has horribly mismanaged the government he was elected to lead and does not know what to do about it. He created an environment inside of the government that does not support integrity, the Constitution, or transparency. Now that the mainstream media is paying attention and the American people are demanding answers, the Obama Administration is retreating with best hopes that their distractions, passing the blame, and refusal of acknowledgement will allow them enough time for this to blow over in the media. Even his crisis management team seems to be clueless as to how best recover from this.

While it most certainly came as a shock to this Administration, the days of turning a blind eye to the truth, taking shortcuts, and picking and choosing which laws to abide by are over.  Only time will tell the outcome of these scandals, but one thing is certain, Obama’s legacy will not be that his Administration is the most transparent administration in history.

Follow Amber on Twitter: @AmberBarno

Also published at The Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-absent-president-obama-s-legacy

Benghazi: Caught Red Handed

As the Benghazi terrorist attack investigation continues to unfold thanks to the braveness of whistle blowers, a handful of Senators who refuse to turn a blind eye, and certain news agencies such as Fox News and CBS news for continuing coverage of a terrorist attack that the rest of the Main Stream Media wanted Americans to forget about; We the People, wants some straight answers.

Leaders make mistakes, bad decisions are often made, and when they do, those responsible for the results are held accountable. It’s not always pretty as leaders must confess to failures and poor leadership decisions, but it’s what leaders do.  They take responsibility for their action and those they are responsible for.

Unfortunately, we have not seen this form of leadership responsibility or accountability from the Obama Administration in regards to the Benghazi terrorist attack that led to the murder of 4 Americans, including the first Ambassador to be killed in 30 years.  In fact, the Administration has taken measures to mislead Americans by changing talking points to down play the severity of the attack and now treats the subject as though it is wasting their time since according to White House Spokesman Jay Carney,  “it happened along time ago.”

The fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had the audacity to say “what difference does it make” during an Benghazi hearing after four Americans, including two Navy Seals had been savagely murdered during the terrorist attack on the US Consulate, shows her desperateness to conceal the ineptness of horrible leadership, not to mention a cold disregard for American lives. Refusing to provide additional security to the Consulate after repeated requests directly from the Ambassador shows her inability and lack of understanding of the capacity of her Department.

Mrs. Clinton, it does make a difference. It makes a difference to the men who were killed and to their family and friends. It makes a difference to the American people who have witnessed the leaders of their government repetitively mislead them. And it should make a difference to you.

The blatant fact surrounding Clinton’s involvement in the Benghazi attack is that she cared more about her own well being, reputation, and moving on from the ‘issue’ than exposing their shortcomings. She simply wanted to wipe her hands clean of the issue and move on. Misleading the American people apparently seemed to be the easiest step to do that. Not saying much for how smart she thinks the American people are, huh?

Over the past 5 years, accountability for top governmental officials has been virtually nonexistent. Obama has run his cabinet as a ‘good ole boy’s’ club rather than an efficient group of leaders who are actually held responsible for the way they manage their departments.  Instead of holding his then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accountable for the events that took place on September 11, 2012, he defended her.  Additionally, Obama defended Susan Rice after she went on multiple TV shows days declaring that four Americans were killed as a result of a terrible anti-Muslim video that the US Government had nothing to do with.

The Administration chose to play politics over transparency. The stance from the White House has been nothing but evasive, misleading, and opaque. We, the American people, are still not getting straight answers. The Administration has failed to show its citizens any form of leadership or accountability by acknowledging failures that led to the attack, failures during attack, and most certainly failures after the attack.

The Administration has been caught red-handed…time to fess up and accept the consequences for misleading the American people that you are accountable to.

Follow Amber on Twitter at @AmberBarno

Published at: http://www.examiner.com/article/benghazi-caught-red-handed-1