It's not everyday that the commander in chief recognizes your actions in a major speech to the nation. But that's exactly what happened yesterday, and the ex-service members aboard the southern bus of the Veterans For American Power Tour gave out a loud rebel cheer when they heard the news (there were a few Yankee hollers as well).
"It's not everyday that the president acknowedges your accomplishments," said Army veteran Ed May, a South Carolina native now living in Tennessee. "I joined this tour because I love my country and this is the most important service I can give to it. It makes me proud to know our commander in chief feels the same way."
The vets started their tour yesterday morning when their distinctive logo-emblazoned blue bus pulled into the Sunshine State's capital grounds. After a thorough search of the bus by officers with security dogs, the bus began drawing a small crowd of well wishers and media. Numerous cars honked their horns in support.
Tallahassee native and Iraq war veteran Nick Breeze told the gathering crowd that developing clean energy alternatives was crucial for our country's national security interests. "I've watched my fellow Marines suffer because of the need to protect oil and fossil fuels around the world. We're Marines and we do what's necessary. But there is no reason we can't develop clean energy alternatives here at home to make America stronger and protect our fighting men and women from future conflicts. We can develop our own clean energy sources right here at home to create new jobs, a cleaner environment and a more secure America."
After interviews and greetings with the audience ended, the vets piled back into their home away from home and rolled on down the Florida highway to Jacksonville, where the gentle breezes of the ocean were a welcome relief from the stuffy interior of the bus.
At Memorial Park in Riverside we were met by a photographer and reporter with the Florida Times Union, the largest newspaper in the region. Vets continued to talk about the need for oil independence and to create a clean new energy economy.
"The Pentagon and the rest of the defense department takes this seriously," said Rafael Noboa. "There's no reason our society as a wholecan't either. It's time for America to get with the clean energy program and make us stronger in the process."
As the sun dipped in the horizon, the vets motored down the highway toward Daytona Beach, their last stop of the day. It had been a very rewarding one for these members of the tour. The President's "shout out" to their cause boosted their spirits and made them even more determined to fight on for a safer, more secure America. It was after all the reason they joined the armed forces. They were just continuing to fulfill their duty.