How would you feel if you were Jessica Lynch's father or mother?
Would you be bitter, angry, hurling invectives at American policy in
Iraq that caused your daughter to be crippled, maimed, scarred for
life? Or, would you stand above the pain and suffering of
a parent, and look to the future of all the Children's Children's
Children, and summarize your feelings in relation to future
generations rather than the current one? Find out what
Greg Lynch says about his daughter's pain, and why he is a Parent of
Vigilance rather than a Parent of Vehemence.
15, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 794
Jessica Lynch's Father
Proffers His Vision of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Nov. 15, 2003--
If any parent had a right to throw rocks at the American policy in
Iraq that puts the sons and daughters of this land at mortal risk, the
leader of that pack might well be Jessica Lynch's father, Greg.
Instead of denigrating the U.S. policy that maimed and crippled his
daughter, and put her in the vortex of harm's way, Greg Lynch summed
up his feelings about the war in a simple but profound sentence:
"If we hadn't
gone in over there, they would have been over here next."
His words were recorded in the
November 17, 2003 Time Magazine cover story on his daughter, Jessica,
held prisoner by the Iraqis after her unit was ambushed in the early
stages of the war.
Eleven of the 32 soldiers with her
that day died, six were captured, eight were wounded. In a
rescue effort broadcast around the world, Jessica Lynch became the
war's "poster girl," an American teenager ravished by the Beast of
Controversy swirled over her rescue.
The government was accused of spinning the story, making it into a
propaganda shell to elicit sympathy and support. But no
matter what the political undercurrents, Jessica Lynch remains
crippled both physically and mentally by her experience, one that no
parent would wish upon his or her child.
100 day at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. being
100 days at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. as surgeons
worried over her, patching up the broken bones and trying to repair
bowels and bladders that didn't work, and still don't.
There were a lot of mistakes in the
blitz of American troops rushing toward Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein
and free Iraq from more than two decades of despotic leadership that
included the threat of biological weapons poised to thwart any U.S.
Jessica's unit, the 507th Maintenance
Company, was at the end of an 8,000-vehicle, 100-mile supply convoy
barreling toward Baghdad. A goof on a map led
Jessica's unit into the heart of enemy territory where the ambush
occurred and history began shining its light on the 18-year-old from
Palestine, West Virginia, who joined the Army to see the world.
But instead, the world saw her.
They saw her in a variety of
ways--from the soldier being carried out of the Iraqi hospital by
Special Forces--to her interviews with Diane Sawyer, the movie about
her on television and the book written about her experiences.
with growing family
It would be within the scope of reason to have
her parents express bitterness and anger toward the events surrounding
their daughter's capture and the robbing of her mobility.
But, instead of castigating the United States and shaking fingers at
the horrors of war's mismanagement as so many Presidential candidates
and critics do daily, the family spokesman, Greg, put it in terms of
Vigilance rather Vehemence: "If we
hadn't gone in over there, they would have been over here next."
It is important to mull those words.
Jessica's father isn't focused on the
broken bones or failed bladder and bowels of his daughter.
He doesn't point to the erroneous map that took his daughter's convoy
into the jaws of the Beast of Terror, or angrily shake his fist in
front of television cameras to opportunize the moment to rail against
the "higher ups" who are the targets of constant attacks on the war's
efforts to bring peace and security to Iraq.
Instead, he looks far beyond the clutter of
the day into the future. A true Parent of Vigilance
has vision. He or she sees beyond the moment to what is the
right thing that needs to be done today to protect future generations.
He or she sees the eyes of the Children's
Children's Children. He or she acts in behalf of their
safety and security in selfless acts that often take far more Courage
and Conviction than one can imagine.
"If we hadn't gone
over there, they would have been over here next."
What is Greg Lynch saying?
He could have said: "If we hadn't
gone over there, my daughter wouldn't be crippled."
That would have been a selfish statement,
one rooted in the present, one that would cloud the perspective of a
true Parent of Vigilance.
He looked past his daughter's pain, past
the suffering and the turmoil of media reports and government
misinformation that adds stress and strain to his daughter's life as
she struggles to regain the ability to walk and function in as normal
a fashion as possible.
father, Greg, knows the Beast of Terror (above with rescued
Jessica recuperating at home)
He saw what any
Sentinel of Vigilance sees when the future is peered upon. He
saw the Beast of Terror. He saw Americans standing up the Bully
Beast, hacking at his underbelly in an attempt to warn him that any
and all efforts to instill Fear, Intimidation and Complacency will be
met with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that benefit the
Children's Children's Children.
Greg Lynch sees the footsteps of the Beast.
He knows the Beast froths at the mouth when those within this country
turn their attention away from blocking Terrorism to Terrorizing the
There are many who say that every critique
leveled at the Administration over Iraq is fuel for the Beast of
Terror to attack more Americans, to ambush them, to blow them up, to
drive them from the land they spilled their blood upon so that freedom
could flow in the rivers of tyranny and oppression.
This isn't to say that in America
that one must muffle his or her dissent. Dissent is the
key to freedom. But it also means that within the hurling of
dissent, vision is also a necessity for dissent to have value.
While one can rail against the war and bad judgments and question the
policy of the Administration, one cannot do this with justice without
including in such dissent the viewpoint that Greg Lynch has offered
us: "If we hadn't gone in over
there, they would have been over here next."
In another way, he's saying:
"If we don't fight the Beast of Terror, who will? If we
don't make a stand against Terrorism now, it will come to roost on our
He isn't supporting the tactics of our war
against Terrorism, but he is the strategy. That strategy is
simple: "Do it now so we don't have to do it later."
Vigilance Vision is
not blinded by his daughter's pain and suffering
That's a giant
view, one that requires Greg Lynch to stand above the broken and
scarred body of his daughter, to not let her pain and suffering blind
him to the vision of what is right for Jessica's children, her
grandchildren, her grandchildren's grandchildren.
In the quiet of the night, out of earshot
of his daughter, Greg Lynch might sit and hang his head and cry over
the pain of his daughter. He might clench his fist and shake it
at the Heavens or aim it toward Washington, D.C. and let his anger
exit as any of us might.
But, as he sits in the quiet and the tears
finally dry, as his hands stop trembling and the anger of his selfish
concerns for his daughter drain from exhaustion, he sees something far
greater and more vast than the present suffering of his offspring, and
the suffering of all those who are at risk today in Iraq.
sees beyond the innocence of his daughter and other children and
only sees the Beast of Terror lurking. (pix--Jessica playing
He sees the faces of
the Children's Children's Children, and behind their innocence, he
sees the Beast of Terror licking his chops, rubbing his hands, waiting
for Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to burrow into the marrow of
He sees the Beast's cunning patience,
willing to let the sorrow and pain of standing up for what is right
ferment into sour grapes and then retreat. He sees the
Beast applauding all the politicians who acerbically poison the
credibility of American policy in hopes they might gain votes through
dissent, politicians who are playing directly to the hands of the
Beast of Terror, acting in allegiance to his goals of making America
"wrong" so that its will to fight the Beast will wane, so that the
blood of all the victims of war will be spilled in vain.
Greg Lynch won't let his daughter's
suffering blind him to the future. That would be too easy.
Just as it would be easy for Jessica Lynch to feel she was victim of
the war, which, by all accounts, she doesn't.
Father, daughter and the entire Lynch family
stand as Sentinels of Vigilance. They believe, what we all
should, or at least should be willing to express when we Voice our
opinions that: "If we hadn't gone over
there, they would have been over here next."
Try out those words. Try
and say them as Greg Lynch said them. Say them as a
Sentinel of Vigilance, a Parent of Vigilance, a Grandparent of
Vigilance, a Citizen of Vigilance.
And then, take the Pledge of
Vigilance if you haven't. It will help you see what Greg
Lynch sees, what Jessica Lynch sees--the Beast of Terror on the run.