Sunday, October 30, 2011

Former Navy SEAL wows audience at Ronald Reagan tribute at Wrightsville Beach Blockade Runner.

By Verne Strickland / October 30, 2011

Popular Nevada Constitutional conservative Sharron Angle was the headliner at last week’s Reagan Tribute before a packed house at the Wrightsville Beach Blockade Runner hotel. She is the Nevada GOP activist who almost brought liberal Democratic leader Harry Reid to tears in the 2010 election. He hasn’t fully recovered yet. 

But the preliminary to the main event – former Navy SEAL Benjamin Smith – fired up the Republican faithful with his own brand of rock-solid Christian-based patriotism that was exactly what the evening required.
Smith, whose imposing size and bearing shouted “SEAL” before he uttered a word, brought a rapt audience through the personal trials and tribulations that shaped and toughened him for the challenges that members of this elite corps seem to take in stride. 

This man on a mission for God and Country – despite his accomplishments – speaks with an unassuming candor and humility that has endeared him to many an audience.

These are excerpts from his presentation:

I was up in New York City, and got a call from Ilario Pantano. I stood for him last time he ran for office, while serving as national speaker for Tea Party Express and Move America Forward. I came down to stump for him. This happens to be my voting district. This year Ilario’s call came again and I came down to back him because I support his rules of engagement on decisions he makes -- he is not a politician, he is a leader.

I know that everyone in this room believes in the things that have made this country great. You have a belief in this fundamental concept of American exceptionalism, that we are something amazing and rare in this world. You understand that the sacred flame of liberty, when it is threatened, when it is led astray, at those times you may have to stoke the very furnace of liberty itself. It seems we have entered those times now, with Barack Obama in the White House, the strange things we see up on Capitol Hill.

I just have a fire in my gut. I know when something is wrong. I knew that when I saw Obama coming on. I’ve always been conservative. I survived through UNC Chapel Hill, and made it out still a conservative. When I was there I didn’t understand what Jesse Helms meant by wanting to build walls around that campus. But I eventually came to know what that man was talking about. You here in this room understand that now -- our moment in history – will determine whether our cause is won or lost by our actions for future generations, and for millions unborn.

History now is being rewritten and erased within our very lifetime. Most of the values you have grown up with are considered old and antiquated. Or archaic. And you are mocked for them. That is so wrong to me. I think we have all started to look at history for answers. We look to our founders for answers. And to God. I have been that atheist in the foxhole. But no more. Seeing what is threatening our nation now, I am rediscovering that faith in God and confidence in the wisdom of our founding fathers.

When I saw Obama moving toward the White House, I became angry. He has never believed in American exceptionalism or in the America that I know, where you have to earn respect, earn your living, earn everything that is dear and worthwhile. I do thank Obama for one thing – he has brought us together tonight to refocus, and work together to get our America back.

American exceptionalism can be seen in our founding documents, which for the first time in human history brought forth the idea that individual liberty is the best way to achieve prosperity and security. Those documents also assure us that we have the purest form of freedom than any other nation ever, because we believe that man is born to be free, and the master of his own fate – to have free elections and decide who will represent you. It’s a rare privilege, but one we have to earn over and over again.

During my travels around this nation, I have been driven by my heart, and realized why I served in the military, why I fought in Iraq, why we’re facing Islam, why Islam is absolutely wrong for this country – and wrong for the world. I have seen our American society as I traveled, and I can tell you that there is fear across this land.

This threat we feel is part of what brought all of you hear tonight. Use that challenge to fight back, revive our unique spirit, and turn our nation back to God, back to the America we know still exists, and back to the family. These are the things that are worth fighting for, worth any sacrifice, and I challenge you to personally give of yourself heart and soul for this cause.

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THE RONALD REAGAN TRIBUTE WAS SPONSORED BY THE NEW HANOVER COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY, CHAIRED BY WILMINGTON RESIDENT RHONDA AMOROSO. IT WAS ATTENDED BY A WHO'S WHO OF LOCAL, COUNTY, STATE AND NC CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SEVEN GOP LEADERS.

rhonda.gopchair@gmail.com