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Cynth'ya Lewis

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Marine's mother speaks out
4/27/2008 12:30:20 PM

The following is important for all of us to see the side of life in a marine mother's life that the media does not cover.
She's a friend and I highly respect her courage when she's been let down in life more than one, and keep on working for the good of others. Her heart felt thoughts are shared with written permission.


The following is from Pat L. Smith, a wife, mother and business woman in Muncie IN. Regardless of whom we support for president some things are very vivid...and this is a time we all need to take MOST seriously! She was misdiagnosed for years and basically left to die until someone, Pat herself, decided to fight without help from the government. And she is very concerned about mis-diagnosis under a mandated/forced healthcare plan.

Here's Pat's speech she did before a group of people who support the mindset (people of all party affiliations were there, nearly 100 in the home--it's a big home!) Pat shared publicly her views at the home of John and Terry Bailey, April 26, 2008 in Muncie, IN.

She shares her comments below with all voters. All people are respected for whom they choose...we can disagree, but let's remember we are here to help each other in love, in business, and hopefully our nation will be better because of what we have embraced not as Republicans or Democrats of Independents but what we embrace in that thing called "The American Dream."

Inspired by Hillary Clinton’s remarks during a debate when she said Senator Obama was filling the country with “false” hope and needed to take a “reality check” Well Senator Obama knows that the reality is that each generation has the power to make a difference in this world. My father’s generation survived the Great Depression and WWII.
My generation was often called “the violent generation” We fought for equal rights and civil rights. We fought for the 26th amendment to the constitution in 1971 giving 18 year olds the right to vote. I couldn’t vote when I was 18. My high school friends were drafted and sent to fight in a war without having the right to vote for the man sending them. I haven’t seen this type of leadership qualities in a presidential candidate since 1968 – Bobby Kennedy. I’ve waited 40 years!! Barack Obama is the person this country needs at this time in our history. We need the next generation to step up and realize their own power. It is time for them to realize that “hope” is NEVER false. It is time for them to realize they could wait 40 years before having another opportunity like this. It is time for them to say YES WE CAN !!
At the Indiana state house is a statue with a quote from Abraham Lincoln that I want to share. On February 11, 1861 president elect Lincoln, (on his way to Washington to assume the presidency), made a stop in Indiana. In that speech he said “I appeal to you to constantly bear in mind that not with politicians – not with presidents – not with office seekers – but with YOU is the question. Shall the union and shall the liberties of the country be preserved to the latest generations”
I want to elect a president with integrity, high moral character, a communicator with a command of the English language and a problem solver. Someone with GOOD judgment “on day one”. Someone who will listen to new ideas with an open mind and lead this country and the world in a new direction. This is a critical time in our history and democracy is not a spectator sport. We need a president who can convince the American people that he wants them to participate in their government. That he needs them to participate and become part of the TEAM. And democracy requires a TEAM effort. It has been a long time since most of us took government and we sometimes forget about the checks and balances that were designed into the constitution by the founders of this democracy. Hillary can talk about her “solutions”, but a president doesn’t accomplish anything alone. Hillary can say that there is no substance in a “movement”. But in the last 50 years - REAL change, LASTING change – change that has given millions of Americans new life opportunities has all begun as a movement. When people ask about “specifics” remind them that we didn’t have specifics at the beginning of the civil rights movement – we just knew that it was unfair in America for black people to have to sit in the back of the bus. We didn’t know the specifics of the equal rights movement when it began – we just knew that it was unfair for women to work along side men doing the same job and getting paid less. We the people, will help determine the specifics but first we have to believe that we can!

We need a president who realizes hope is where you begin when you have important issues to solve. And we need a president who can generate that type of hope. The type of hope we need so we can all work together toward solutions to our common problems.

I don’t like labels, so don’t call be a democrat, a republican, a libertarian or an independent. Don’t label me a liberal or a conservative. Call me an AMERICAN.

And in America, unlike other countries, we have the freedom and the privilege to do more than hope. I want to share with you my family’s three generations of “hope”.

My father now 83 years old worked full time at a glass factory and farmed full time on our family farm. During the WWII era when he and my mother were first married they were on a ”waiting list” for a refrigerator! Imagine that! They had 4 children. I was the last child. One year the county in which we lived drew new lines for what public school we could attend. The school we were supposed to attend had no college curriculum and would have us riding a bus for about an hour. The school we had been attending was just 3 miles away and did provide a college curriculum. But, the only way my father’s four children could continue to attend this school was to provide our own transportation and pay tuition. Now my father could have just “hoped” that his children had a good education and would be able to attend college or he could work even harder and sacrifice to pay for all four of his children to attend the school which would give us all the tools we needed to be successful. I am proud (and thankful) to say he chose to work harder and make sure his “hope” of higher education for his children became a reality. Don’t tell him his hope was false!!

Now my story of hope. When I was 31 years old I became very ill and was hospitalized for weeks. The doctors could not find out what was wrong with me until I was literally hours from death. I spent 18 years on medication and trips in and out of the hospital trying to stay alive, but nothing seemed to improve my illness or send it into remission for any length of time. My son, who was 18 months old when I was first diagnosed, was about 20 years old when he said to me “I don’t remember you, mom, when you were not sick”. I wanted to consult a specialist at the Indiana Medical Center in Indianapolis, but IU Med Center was not in the“ network” of medical facilities my insurance company would pay at the time. Now my husband & I could not afford to pay on our own. I could have just “hoped” for a cure or I could petition my insurance company to allow me to go outside of my network to consult a different opinion, which is what I did. I was approved to go outside of the network to IU in 1999 and my new doctor told me I had been misdiagnosed for 18 years. She said the medication my insurance company and I had been paying for and I had been taking for 18 years would have never done me any good. She counseled me on my options and I have been disease FREE since November 20, 2002!! Hillary’s plan “mandates” everyone have healthcare, but says nothing about how average Americans will be able to afford it or if we will have the freedom like I did to choose my doctor. On Hillary’s plan I’d most likely be dead! I stand before you today as a healthy woman, and my son can now remember his mother as the person she always hoped to become. Don’t tell me my hope was false!!

We have an entire generation who are stepping up to defend this country with their lives.

I was from the generation of “hell no we won’t go” “make love not war.” I never dreamed that our country could defend itself with a volunteer military let alone wage a war. Imagine my surprise when our only son, Eric, came to us and announced that he was going to apply to officer candidate school for the Marines. The Marines describe it as a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 10 week job interview. The Marines screened and evaluated him for almost a year before accepting him to attend officer candidate school the summer between his junior and senior year of college.

His incredible successful journey and the courage and commitment required to reach his goal is beyond words. 60 % of the candidates attending officer school either quit or are sent home because they lack the necessary inner moral strength or outer physical strength to become an officer in the Marines.

He graduated from officer candidate school along with many other brave men and women and after graduating from Indiana University was offered a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Marines. He had the freedom to accept or refuse their offer.

He could have turned down that offer and moved ahead with his life, but he chose to accept the challenges the Marines offered him. I asked him “Why?”

In his words he said, “Mom, somebody has to defend the country”.

When Eric was stationed in 29 Palms CA one of his responsibilities was to inform families of injury and death. He was one of a group of Marines who put on their dress blues uniforms and walked proudly to the door of a Marine Corps Captain’s home to break the news to his wife and young children that their beloved husband and father had given his life for his country. He was one of the Marines who flew to New York to attend the funeral and graveside service of a young First Lieutenant who was exploded by a roadside bomb. He expressed his compassion to the family as he passed the empty flag draped coffin and thanked them for their sacrifice.

He was the Marine who called a mother to inform her that her son had been injured, and would be coming home from Iraq. He heard the relief in her voice that her Marine was alive and then the pain when he told her that both his legs had to be amputated to save his life. He helped her deal with the fear of what her son’s life would now be like. And they both wondered if this country would ever appreciate his courage and sacrifice. Don’t tell these families that their hopes for the future are false!!

We owe these young people a strong country to come home to. I’m glad Senator Obama spoke out against the war, and I am angered about the remarks from the Clinton camp that since he voted to fund money for the war that he has been inconsistent in his support of the war in Iraq. After President Bush, as commander and chief, decided to send troops, I would totally expect that every member of Congress, whether they agreed with President Bush or not, would have voted to appropriate every cent available to give our military every tool they needed to keep them safe and strong. My son’s life depended on it!!

If you are still undecided on May 6th just remember one thing. Senator Clinton voted for this war. Senator Clinton did not have the judgment to know that this war would cost over 4,000 lives. Senator Clinton said “yes” to spending billions of dollars in Iraq instead of investing in America.

I want Senator Obama to keep his campaign positive. And I believe, we, as supporters should keep it positive also. My generation lived thru the civil rights movement. Race isn’t an issue with me. We lived thru the equal rights movement. Gender is not an issue with me. I want a president who will represent the American spirit. The spirit that was created by our forefathers who never gave up on the idea of a free democracy.

Every now and then we need to be reminded that we are a fortunate people. Every generation has been blessed with leaders who have repeatedly renewed the meaning of America. We need that kind of leader now. America, the world’s beacon of hope and freedom, needs Barack Obama as our president.

I have lived my life always remembering the quote that I chose to end my graduation speech to the class of 1970. Bernard Shaw wrote it, but Bobby Kennedy made it his inspiration. “Some men see things as they are and say ‘why’, I dream things that never were and say ‘why not?” Today’s translation for that would be YES WE CAN.
In my home office is a framed limited edition picture of President Kennedy. In the back is a pocket which contains copies of the two speeches he was scheduled to give on November 22, 1963.

On the front is his most famous quote “Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country” But also are remarks intended for delivery by President Kennedy to the Texas Democratic State Committee in Austin Texas on November, 22, 1963. I often wonder how different our world would be if we could have all listened to his words that day. But, they are perhaps more important today than they would have been in 1963. So, I want to recite them for you to hear today.

“ For this country is moving and it must not stop. It cannot stop. For this is a time for courage and a time for challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a party, is not to our party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom. So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is a t stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause – united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future – and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

Thank you
(Pat L. Smith)

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More Blogs by Cynth'ya Lewis
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The Ghost Of Kaiser Rock by Hank LeGrand

Living in the country was wonderful for Little Henry. He loved riding his bicycle on the dirt roads, but he should never have ridden it in the dark.....  
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