This year, Veterans Day (Sunday) coincides with International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Throughout our nation’s history, our military veterans have stood up for and protected those facing persecution, whether such persecution be against Christians, Jews or those of other faiths.
This has ranged from defeating Nazism during World War II to fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban in our present day.
Last month, Malala Yousafzi, a Pakistani 15-year-old, was nearly killed by the Taliban. Her crime? Standing up to sharia law by promoting girls going to school. If anyone deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, it is Malala.
Matt Dooley is a native of Centerville, Wayne County, Ind. After graduating from West Point in 1994, he became an armor officer. He served at Fort Hood, Texas, as well as six operational and combat tours of duty to Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq. He is a graduate of the Command & General Staff College.
Now a lieutenant colonel, he was an instructor at National Defense University’s Joint Forces Staff College. The Islamic radicalism elective was among the courses he taught. Under pressure from Muslim organizations, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, fired Lt. Col. Dooley from his instructor position in a May 10 Pentagon news conference. To make matters worse, Gen. Dempsey also ordered that Dooley be given a negative officer evaluation report (OER) (a “career killer” for any military officer), despite Dooley otherwise having an exemplary military career.
The Saint Thomas More Law Center, a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has taken Dooley’s case on a pro bono basis.
Shannon Beebe was a native of Hot Springs, Ark., whom I got to know while we competed as part of West Point’s speech team. He was elected class president.
Upon graduating in 1991, he became a field artillery officer and served in Germany, Fort Bragg, N.C. and Fort Wainwright, Ark. He received an M.A. from the University of North Carolina. Following a combat tour of duty in the Balkans, he served as Army attaché to Kosovo, senior Africa analyst at the Pentagon and assistant Army attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Luanda, Angola.
In his spare time, Shannon became a bush pilot and flew back-country missions throughout Africa. In 2010, he co-authored a book, “The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and the New Rules of War and Peace.”
Lt. Col. Beebe and his girlfriend were killed in a small plane crash in Virginia in 2011. After his death, his ex-wife said that when they once traveled to Tanzania for a large dinner with many dignitaries, Shannon picked up a case of water, brought it out to the help, then sat and talked to them for a half-hour. She said, “You had all these diplomats and presidents in this tent, but he would rather talk to the help because he wanted a real-life view of how life was there.” (Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2011).
Matt Curtis and I were classmates. A native of Las Vegas, he was active in the Baptist Student Union as a cadet. After graduation in 1989, he became an Infantry officer and served at Fort Stewart, Ga., and in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Following his active-duty service, Matt received his J.D. from the William & Mary School of Law in 2001. Since then, he has been practicing law in Virginia. Last year, Matt participated in a mission trip to a North African country, where he was able to meet and encourage a number of Christians. He will return there soon to assist missionaries.
On this Veterans Day, may we honor our veterans fighting against persecution. For if we, as a country, do nothing, evil will triumph. And let’s “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.”– Hebrews 13:3