HIGHEST HONORS OF 9/11
“They do not fear the United States for its diplomatic skills or the number of automobiles and software programs it produces. They respect only the firepower of our tanks, planes, and helicopter gunships.”
It’s shocking! And it’s all there for you to take in: a woman cross-dressing in men’s sailor garb, teasing the men around her, poking fun and mocking. A man dressed as a woman, dancing, wiggling his hips suggestively, his skimpy costume emphasizing round breasts. These are members of the United States Navy, rudely having fun at the expense of gays, heterosexuals, bi-sexuals, men, women, and everyone else! No, it’s not the “raunchy videos” produced by Captain Owen Honors for the enjoyment of his crew, it’s South Pacific with Mitzi Gaynor as Nellie Forbush and Ray Walston as Luther Bills.
I’m not one for expletives, but “good grief” just doesn’t quite sum up the exasperation I felt when I heard that Captain Owen “Opie” Honors had been relieved of his command of the USS Enterprise after having been accused of providing some mildly politically incorrect entertainment for his sailors. I’ve seen the videos, which are several years old. They’re silly, yes they poke fun at gays, straights, men, women, the Navy, and every other individual or group whose identity is that of the perpetually offended. Is the scene from South Pacific the 1958 equivalent? Pretty much. Captain Honors’ videos are G-rated when compared to the content of MTV or the soft-porn commercial breaks on SPIKE TV. GOOD GRIEF! Laugh a little, please.
It is a sad commentary that political sensitivities within the United States military have eclipsed the very natures of our fighting men and women. They work hard. They play hard. And because service in the Armed Forces is grueling, and sometimes uncertain, they like to look at the world through a prism of humor. It’s a healthy thing to poke fun at oneself. It is no crime to poke mild fun at everyone else.
Captain Honors, however, is a complex man whose list of achievements in the Navy transcends the politically correct slams that have defaced his career; slams that were made against his efforts to simply boost morale on his ship. He has been an honorable man, and the impact of his personal honor and patriotism has left an impression on a community in Western Colorado.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Owen Honors was commanding a squadron of F-14s on their way from Virginia to California to do maneuvers with their Air Wing. Mid-morning on 9/11 Islamic terrorists struck 4 different targets in the East, murdering nearly 3000 innocent people. When it was confirmed that the attacks were an act of war against America, Honors and his squadron were ordered to return back to Oceana Naval Air Base in Virginia Beach. The Navy fliers spent the next two days guarding the skies above major cities on the Eastern Seaboard.
Late on Wednesday, September 12, Honors’ squadron was ordered to return cross country to California. They would stop at Whitman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Missouri, and then proceed to Grand Junction, Colorado for a required over night stay before they continued to the coast. Walker Field, the regional airport of Western Colorado, is the perfect gas and go stop for military jets that fly through the heart of the country. The facilities are welcoming, the people friendly, and the spaces are wide, and open, and abounding with natural beauty.
Honors and his men went into the town of Grand Junction for the evening. While they were out, a teacher from a local middle school recognized their uniforms and approached them. Americans, by the 3rd day after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, had been enveloped with an absolute patriotism. The Stars and Stripes were brandished everywhere in defiance of the terrorist attackers. Citizens were flush with righteous indignation, every heart compelled to defend the beloved country that had been so insulted, so desecrated, by hateful and evil men. The teacher asked the squadron if they would do a flyover of Bookcliff Middle School so that she could demonstrate to her students the strength of America, and that the protectors of the nation were aware of the people on the ground and of the children in schools who simply wanted to remain free and secure so they could go about their lives. She offered in exchange a treat on the ground that the men could see as they flew over the school in their F-14 Tomcats.
After their required overnight in Grand Junction, Honors and his men readied their planes to complete their cross country trip. At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Friday, September 14, 2001, Honors’ squadron flew over the Grand Valley in a trajectory that took them directly over Book Cliff Middle School. They took off in sections of 2 jets at a time, with a total of 6 sections. Below, on the grounds of the middle school, the teacher had arranged her students in a formation that spelled “GO USA” in big, human-sized letters for the men in the Tomcats to see from on high.
Almost immediately upon his return, and in response to the attacks of 9/11, Owen Honors was deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He quickly rose through the ranks of the United States Navy until in May of 2010 he was appointed Commander of the Carrier USS Enterprise. At the time Commander Honors was relieved of his duty on the Enterprise in January of 2011, he had flown 85 combat missions in 3 different theaters, and had completed over 700 landings of 15 different carriers.
The events of September 11, 2001 changed everyone. Some of us became more serious-minded about the threats to our freedom and our lives. Some Americans resigned themselves to live with surrender, and have since bartered away their liberties and their safety in exchange for the comfy notion that appeasement somehow quenches our enemies’ thirst for blood. Political correctness and social engineering stalk our armed services, and punish our service men and women for the rowdy individualism that makes them exceptional warriors. Some might say that Captain Honors fell victim to political correctness, save for the fact that a man of his stature can never be accurately portrayed as a victim. America will defeat Islamic terrorism. The society will eventually clobber political correctness. And the United States will, in a while, be restored along with the Constitution, and its standing of military and economic supremacy. The most important change that occurred on 9/11 was an awakening. And high over Grand Junction, Colorado the big-hearted commander of a squadron of F-14 Tomcats taught a group of middle school kids that they are important, that America is great, and that the fighters who defend us deserve the highest honors we can give. GO USA!
“We could say Democrats spend money like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors. It would be unfair, because the sailors are spending their own money.”
by Marjorie Haun 9/10/2011
Tags: 9/11, Bookcliff Middle School, F-14 Tomcat, Grand Junction, Ground Zero, Know Noster, Oceana Naval Air Base, Operation Enduring Freedom, Opie, Owen Honors, USS Enterprise, Virginia Beach, Whiteman AFB