By Bruce Lemkin
My late mother was a proud Texan from a patriotic family. Her father served in the Texas National Guard during World War I, was badly gassed in the Battle of the Argonne, but returned home to Texas and built a successful oil drilling supply business. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 47 from illness related to his service in the Great War — While I never met him, I am proud to be his grandson. His son, my uncle, left Texas A&M to serve in the Texas National Guard in World War II — He, too, was wounded, badly, on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Ironically, my father, though a New Yorker who would soon marry my Texas mother, was commanding a small Navy ship, just off of Omaha Beach, that was blown out of the water by a German shell.
My sister and I were raised to be patriots, with a particular affinity for Texas, Texas lore, and Texas history. (We were the only kids on New York’s Long Island who said “Y’all” — and we still do!). Trips to see my uncle and his family in Texas were very special. And, while I always aspired to attend — and did graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy — on a visit to Houston when I was a junior in high school, I was accepted and almost persuaded to attend Rice University!
During my career in the Navy and, subsequently, as an Air Force official — originally appointed during the first term of President George W. Bush — I visited Texas many times. Texas houses some of our most important military installations, as well as a critical and large part of our defense industry. One notable example, is the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics plant in Ft. Worth, a true national asset that I was privileged to visit on numerous occasions.
Texas has produced great, tough, determined, and principled leaders throughout its history, from Sam Houston, to Gen Eisenhower, Sam Rayburn, Lyndon Johnson, Ann Richards, George W. Bush, just to cite a few of many. While they may have differed in political affiliation and views, they shared the same characteristic of being proud, independent, patriotic leaders.
While he is not a Texan, I believe that Joe Biden fits that same mold. His positions make sense and guarantee Texans the rights and opportunities that they expect. He advocates constitutional, legal, and humane immigration policies and processes, and secure borders, while enabling the economic and other benefits our nation gains from legal immigration. He supports law enforcement, including ending the gun violence epidemic, while strongly upholding the Second Amendment. Joe Biden not only understands and supports what Texans want and need, he has a record to prove it, and the experience and demonstrated leadership ability to ensure that we, as a nation, and as individual states, are successful.
In my life as a career naval officer and, later as an Air Force official responsible for working with our international partners, I know that in today’s world, America cannot be truly secure without reliable allies. In the last four years, the international security framework built and led by the United States, has become an ineffective and is in shambles. Joe Biden will rebuild our alliances, as well as the relationships with our critical global trading partners. Perhaps, he has been influenced by the official state motto of Texas: “Friendship,” originating from the Native American word meaning “friends” or “allies.”
I have been around for a long time, and have served with and observed great leaders… as well those who sought to fool us. It has been my observation that Texans are tough, but principled, and are astute in their judgment of character and integrity. They do not suffer fools gladly — and in regard to someone boasting of falling in love with brutal dictators, well … proud and independent, Texans can see right through cattle excrement!
In my judgment, our great nation took the wrong direction, around four years ago — It is time for all of us, Texans and all Americans, to work together to put our nation back on the right track to assert our values and our aspirations for a better life for our children and grandchildren, for ALL of our citizens. I am convinced that Joe Biden will get us back on the path to regain our greatness. Please join this proud half Texan in supporting him.
Bruce Lemkin is a retired naval officer, international negotiator, and former Air Force official