Why We Need to Show Up to Support Our Veterans

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In Other Work of Note

The Jones homecoming

The author, right, and her young son welcome her husband back from Afghanistan. Photo: Celise Salmon Photography

San Francisco hosted a Veterans’ day parade this past weekend. And only a few people showed up. Some blame a lack of publicity. Perhaps. Maybe not everyone chooses to celebrate our veterans by attending a parade. But I wonder: as a nation, are we showing up for our veterans? Are we showing up to remember, support, and help those who choose to serve and fight for us?

>> Heritage’s Steve Bucci and Cully Stimson, veterans both, reflect on the importance of thanking those who served

Around this time last year, I was at the airport, anxiously awaiting my husband’s return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He’d spent the better part of a year treating our wounded servicemen and women at the Bagram Air Base trauma unit.

Our dear friends snapped the candid picture above as we walked through the terminal. We were so happy to be reunited.  A few minutes after this photo was taken, I realized the man who left was not the man who came home. He was different because he didn’t come home alone.

He saw young men and women full of talent and potential die in the service of our country. Others sustained devastating wounds. He brought them home with him and he carries them wherever he goes. Their sacrifices are sealed in his memory. When our country asked for their service, they showed up. Now one year later, do we remember? They died in one of the deadliest attacks Bagram has seen in the last five years. Do we know their names? Who helps bear the burden of grief borne by those they left behind? Continue Reading »

Remembering a Man Who Helped Inspire the Modern Conservative Movement

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Phil Crane. Photo: Wikimedia

Phil Crane. Photo: Wikimedia

Phil Crane, the long time Republican Congressman from Illinois and a conservative champion, died Sunday at the age of 84.

The news got my attention in a very personal way. Phil Crane won his seat in a special election in 1969. It was Illinois district 12, where I grew up. It was a crowded field and my mother, Eloise Canfield, then just beginning her own career in local politics, was a leader in the small group of people who backed Crane in a nine-way primary. After winning the primary, he went on to win the general election and serve for 35 years in the House. My mother was integrally involved in his subsequent elections in the ’70s and early ’80s.

I realized even then he stood out. He was conservative when it wasn’t cool. He gave an intellectual heft to the ideas of free markets and a strong national defense during those wilderness years when few on the national scene were talking about such things. He was anti-communist when nobody was.

He didn’t become a political star like his contemporary Jack Kemp, but he did have profound impact on many who shaped the conservative movement of today. He was a pioneer. For starters, Heritage Foundation Founder Ed Feulner worked for Phil Crane on Capitol Hill for four years. Feulner ran the conservative Republican Study Committee, which Crane had fearlessly founded, and took what he learned there to Heritage, which he turned into a conservative powerhouse. Continue Reading »

I Met Ben Carson, Now a Potential Presidential Candidate, at a Heritage Event

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Tyler McArthur with Ben Carson

The author with Dr. Ben Carson at the 2014 Heritage Foundation President’s Club Meeting.

The first time I ever heard of Ben Carson was in 2012 when he came to speak at my university. He wasn’t a politician back then, just an accomplished but humble man with a hugely inspiring story to tell. I remember the example of his mother more than anything else from his speech. She was an illiterate, impoverished black woman who understood that “once you go on government benefits, you never go off them.” Her faith and hard work are what pushed Ben out of childhood poverty to become the successful person he is today.

Now he’s a potential presidential candidate. Just a week before he acknowledged his interest in running, Dr. Carson was at The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club Meeting, where I had the chance to briefly chat with him. I left our conversation feeling like I had met an extraordinarily caring and kind, quiet, unassuming, and gentle person.

Later that night, he delivered the President’s Club Meeting keynote address. He spoke about political correctness, taxes, and healthcare — all issues close to the hearts of conservatives. But his sincerity and experience give his words added meaning. As a famous doctor, he knows exactly why he opposes Obamacare (and he has more than a few ideas on how to fix it). Because of his childhood experience in Detroit, he knows about poverty (and has some very good ideas about that too). And as a non-career politician, he says things in a way that you want to hear, without all the hedging and qualifying that so many political leaders employ today.

Whether or not he becomes the Republican nominee for president, Ben Carson’s frankness and integrity is a breath of fresh air in a political environment that is sometimes very toxic. At the very least, he has my respect and admiration.

The Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and does not endorse candidates or political parties. The views expressed herein are the author’s own. 

Heritage’s James Carafano Explains Internet-Age National Security Threats at Berkeley

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James Carafano speaking at Berkley

James Carafano speaks at Berekley Law School.

The University of California, Berkeley is not known for being sympathetic of conservatives, let alone supportive.

But Heritage Foundation defense expert James Carafano found an attentive audience when he visited the Berkeley Law School earlier this month to discuss his book, Wiki at War.

Carafano’s book explores how the Internet has changed the nature of warfare and diplomacy. Wikileaks, for example, demonstrates how online vandalism can frustrate our foreign policy. More recently, ISIS and other terrorist groups have used the web to collaborate and recruit.

Update: We received the following praise from Alexander Smith, the president of the Berkeley Law Federalist Society: “Dr. Carafano’s engaging talk highlights our national security challenges and suggests cautionary notes. It was appreciated by all.”

What I Learned as an Intern with the Heritage Legacy Society

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Annuities, bequests, charitable trusts. When I started my internship at the Heritage Legacy Society office a few short months ago, these terms were somewhat confusing. Now, they have become inspiring.

At our nation’s core rests the belief that every individual has a right to liberty, a right for which we all must fight. Nowhere have I seen this better understood and demonstrated than through the efforts of our Heritage Legacy Society members. Just as the Constitution seeks to ensure the “blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” our members have sacrificed not only throughout their lifetimes, but have committed their time and resources to my generation.

Their giving has enabled my fellow interns and me to join the conservative movement that aims to return America to its founding principles. We have gained a better understanding of today’s most pressing issues through innovative briefings from policy experts and through leading Conservative conferences featuring today’s leaders. We have also looked at the past, appreciating the vision of our Founders through visits to the Capitol and Mount Vernon.

Most importantly, our members have also given us the opportunity to learn from them.

Whether conversing on the phone, assisting with gift annuities, or giving Heritage Foundation tours that take us to the very Wall of Freedom commemorating our Heritage Legacy Society members, our supporters have demonstrated their understanding that the size and form of the gift doesn’t matter, rather, it is the willingness to commit to our principles that gives this country hope.

We have inherited a legacy of liberty thanks to the dedication of American citizens such as our members. By their generosity, we have also gained the practical knowledge and equipping to continue spreading those values.

I will take my experiences back to Pennsylvania, and my friends will return to their campuses and home towns, equipped to hold our government and society accountable to the American Constitution. We have seen that it’s not only possible, but necessary to care for my generation to ensure that we preserve and increase freedom for generations to come.

Victor Davis Hanson and the Greatest Generation

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James Carafano. Photo: Chas Geer

James Carafano. Photo: Chas Geer

Heritage Foundation vice president James Carafano is a big fan of Victor Davis Hanson, the military historian and author of the popular book Carnage and Culture.

Hanson’s new lecture series about World War II is worth watching, Carafano writes at PJ Media:

Professor Hanson’s passion for World War II history drives a fascinating, entertaining and enlightening six-part video lecture from PJ Media’s Freedom Academy. (View the first installment here for $9.90.) The series covers the story of the war that shaped the modern world from its origins to its aftermath. . .

Many modern historians have abandoned the “big picture” issues of ideology and geopolitics as old-fashioned. They’ve moved on to more “interesting” studies like the role of gender in war.  Not so, Hanson.  He argues that the big issues are still big because they shaped the world we live in today. It makes no sense to ignore them, and Hanson doesn’t.  Instead, he “bothers” to explain, for example, how the Versailles Treaty led to the outbreak of the Second World War. The story is essential and, in Hanson’s hands, compelling.

Do you think the study of history has gotten off-course?

227 Years of the United States Constitution, Explained in One Must-Have Book

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Last week, America marked the 227th anniversary of the ratification of the United States Constitution.

To commemorate this milestone, The Heritage Foundation released the second edition of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. This new edition includes updates to reflect new laws and court decisions that affect how the nation’s highest law impacts Americans.

The first edition of the Guide, which features clause-by-clause analysis of the entire Constitution from leading scholars, was published in 2005 to critical acclaim. It has sold more than 50,000 copies.

In 2012, Heritage published the full text online. Since then, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution Online has been visited over 1.3 million times. The hard copy of the book has sold over 50,000 copies.

The enormous popularity of our guide is proof of how relevant and revered the Constitution still remains.

Purchase your copy of the Guide‘s second edition, or read the full text online.

Did you celebrate Constitution Day? Tell us what makes you proud to carry on the mantle of liberty.

These 5 Photos from Heritage Members Will Be Featured in Heritage’s 2015 Calendar

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In early November, The Heritage Foundation will mail our 2015 calendar to all 600,000 Heritage members. And for the first time, this year’s calendar will feature photos taken by Heritage members and supporters.

The 2015 calendar will feature images that tell the story of what we love about America, the things we do outside of government in the cities and towns and countryside where we live, that make us the people we are. So we decided to ask our members for photos they’ve taken that match this theme.

More than 130 Heritage supporters submitted 282 photos in response to our call for submissions earlier this year. Our creative team, who produces the calendar, carefully reviewed all submissions and picked the five photos below.

Watch your mailbox for your Heritage calendar in mid-November!

Here are the photos selected:

January: Sandy Seaman–Austin, TX

Denali National Park, Alaska. Photo: Sandy Seaman

Denali National Park, Alaska Continue Reading »

Remembering September 11 and our American Heritage

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Over the last couple weeks, millions of incoming freshmen students have stepped foot into university classrooms for the first time. It’s hard to imagine that just 13 years ago in the fall of 2001 these same young people were just beginning elementary school. For many of them, 9/11 is nothing more than a vague memory, yet it would be hard to overstate the impact this event had on their most formative years.

These children don’t remember a world without Osama Bin Laden or al-Qaeda – a world without the hateful threat of terrorism floating darkly over their heads. They grew up during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and said goodbye as their older siblings went off to war. They came of age in a time of severe economic recession and watched as their fathers and mothers struggled to find work.

But despite having every reason to doubt our capabilities, to be wary of our enemies and to throw up their hands and settle for less, the youth of today are determined to build a strong, rich, independent America. They know that the American capacity for hard-work will keep this land prosperous. They know that the fierce independence that burns in our hearts will keep it free. And most importantly, they know and can rest assured that at its core America was founded on an idea that this is a land of liberty where every man can make for himself and his family the life they desire. One of our experts, Matthew Spalding, wrote:

Every nation derives meaning and purpose from some unifying quality—an ethnic character, a common religion, a shared history. The United States is different. America was founded at a particular time, by a particular people, on the basis of particular principles about man, liberty, and constitutional government.

Today the aptly named Freedom Tower in New York City stands 1,776 feet tall – a visual monument to our ability to pick ourselves up and struggle for even greater heights. Americans have shown over and over again that we will never give up and never surrender and certainly never cease striving to preserve our heritage of liberty. We truly are an exceptional country.

May God always bless America.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened May 21 to the public in New York City.

At Heritage, Rick Perry Calls Border Security ‘a Constitutional Obligation’

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“Defending our border is not a political option but a constitutional obligation,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said last week at The Heritage Foundation.

Speaking to a packed audience that included 23 news cameras, Perry was critical of President Obama’s failed immigration policies.

The President has been anything but consistent in his reaction to the crisis at the border, he said in an address broadcast live on C-SPAN. When he should take executive action by enforcing immigration laws, he retreats. And his attempts to sidestep Congress and implement his unilateral immigration reform are examples of “aggressive overreach.” Continue Reading »

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