- Jeffrey Denning
- I'm the author of four books: Warrior SOS, The Work of Death, Together Forever, and Leaders Wanted. I'm in the doc film Please Remove Your Shoes. I've blogged for The Washington Times, and I write for Guns.com. I've worked for the high-profile U.S.-led Roadmap to Mideast Peace in Israel and Palestine. I've also worked as a SWAT team leader, a Federal Air Marshal and a sole-source training instructor on a classified contract with a U.S. government customer. My master's degree is in Military Studies and terrorism. I'm a former noncommissioned and commissioned Army officer, with service in Iraq. I've been Scuba diving and skydiving; I have trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, and I'm an FBI-trained crisis negotiator. My interests lie in helping others and in strengthening America through inspiring moral courage, government fiscal responsibility and accountability, and maintaining principles that have made--and will continue to make--the United States of America a blessed and prosperous country. I'm a father of six, a husband, and a police officer. I reside in Utah, and I'm a Mormon. See also https://jeffreydenning.wordpress.com.
February 20, 2011
Faith, Leadership, War and Abraham Lincoln
The following is a letter penned to an experienced warrior in Afghanistan, who's been struggling. In his letter, which I'm not including, he mentions his struggles and need for faith, God and family in order to carry on and get through this terrible deployment. I thought the letter in reply worth repeating for all to read.
I thought of what I could write to you after reading your tear-jerking note below. I thought of the hell I experienced in Iraq. I thought to write something short, but powerful, that might let you know I love you and can understand, in some small way, the hard times you currently suffer. The "short, but powerful" requirement brought to mind the Gettysburg address. Lincoln gave one of the shortest speeches ever. Another man spoke before him for a very long time, but neither his name nor the memory of his words lives on through the annals of history.
Lincoln, a consummate man of God who prayed and studied the Bible regularly, knew that he, as the President of the United States, wasn't ultimately in charge. He knew that God was the ultimate Ruler of the universe, and the inevitable Founder of the United States, upon which He (Heavenly Father) could destroy or save at His almighty will and pleasure. Fortunately, Abraham Lincoln, I'm sure, recognized his role in bringing to pass good things. He prayed fervently and worked hard in his role as leader.
Lincoln will long be remembered as one of the greatest presidents in history. Interestingly, years ago while working as an air marshal, I remember seeing a periodical at one of the magazine stands in the airport that labeled Lincoln as a privately depressed and distressed man. To me, I thought it was a cruel observation and study against such a great man among men. It was pointing out the flaws of someone beyond the grave, and I saw no need for it. But, my experiences in Iraq helped me to see things a little differently--not that we should point out flaws, but I understood more about the loneliness of leadership. In that way, perhaps in some small measure, I understood more about Lincoln's character and behavior--a true paragon among men.
I'm including Lincoln's words spoken in the melancholy fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I too have stood and wept silently at man's inhumanity to man.
You are always in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope one day we can greet each other with a hug and talk for a long while.
Now, the iconic Abraham Lincoln:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK