Charlie's Speech at the Grand Opening of the MTSU Veterans and Military Family Center in Murfreesboro, TN

December 7, 1941: It was a gray blustery day in coastal North Carolina and our family was gathered at my Grandfather's house for Sunday dinner when the word came down that our naval base in Hawaii had been attacked by the Japanese warplanes.

It was in the days before television and we gathered around my granddaddy’s big floor model radio and listened to a scratchy overseas broadcast describing the damage that had been done to the naval fleet moored at a place called Pearl Harbor.

I was too young to grasp the full gravity of the situation, but I knew that something earth shaking had happened to the country I was being raised to love and respect and the formative years of my life were during the fighting of the Second World War.

I was born in Wilmington, North Carolina which was a deep water shipping port and where a shipyard would soon go into action building liberty ships for the war effort.

A lot of ships sailed out of the port of Wilmington, oil tankers and cargo ships headed across the Atlantic to resupply our troops fighting in Europe.

Many of these were sunk by German U-boats lurking just off our shores, sometimes so close it was said that the fires of battle could be seen from our beaches.

The war was very real to those of us living on the coast and we had blackouts, air raid drills and the top half of the headlights on our cars painted over to keep them from being visible from the air.

This was in the days before satellite technology and mass communications and we never knew when the Nazis would attempt to bring the war on shore so we were vigilant.

I learned very early that only two things protect America, the grace of Almighty God and the United States military.

It was that way in1941, it’s that way in 2015 and it will continue to be that way as long as America remains a free and sovereign nation.

So we said our prayers and supported our troops, resolved and reconciled to the fact that God was in his heaven, our armies were on the battlefield and that no Swastika or Rising Sun would ever fly above our beloved United States of America.

I have had the honor to be among our men and women in uniform in some pretty desolate parts of the world in the last several years and my impressions are deep and respectful.

I have often said that if the youth of America had half the discipline, responsibility and sense of duty our young men and women in uniform have this would be a far different and far better nation.

For over two centuries now we have sent the cream of American youth off to stand between us and those who would like nothing better than destroying us and our way of life.

Our politicians have accepted impossible rules of engagement, our media has taken every opportunity to snipe and carp, trying to place blame where there is no blame to be placed and our Congress has turned the other cheek and allowed our defense budgets to be cut in favor of some voter friendly entitlement program and stood mute while some of our most capable and battle hardened officers were forced to retire taking with them the experience and expertise that has made America's fighting forces so formidable.

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