Today was a good day. After returning from Easter services, we heard about the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips.
I can’t be the first to ponder the metaphor. On the very day that Christians celebrate victory over death by the Son of God who sacrificed himself to save the rest of the world, we celebrated another victory over death – or rather, rescue from the jaws of death – of a Captain who sacrificed his own safety for the good of his crew.
What pride we feel for the performance and professionalism of the U.S. Navy today. The Navy owns the ocean, and as details of Captain Phillips’ rescue are released, it becomes clear that it had the situation well in hand long before the final take down. When things get bad at sea, there can be no more inspirational feeling than seeing a U.S. Navy warship or Coast Guard vessel coming to the rescue. Even more so if they’re carrying SEALs.
All of that was in the context of a trip from which I had just returned. Seven of the top cartoonists in the country (Dave Coverly of Speed Bump, Michael Ramirez of Investors’ Business Daily (also a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner), Bill Amend of Foxtrot, Bill Hinds of Tank McNamara and Cleats, Glenn Beck’s cartoonist Rob Smith, jr., Jef Mallett of Frazz, and Jack Davis, a legend in the cartooning world), and I visited wounded troops at Walter Reed, Bethesda and Landstuhl on a USO-sponsored trip to put some smiles on the faces of those who have sacrificed so much to defend our country. We represented the National Cartoonists Society, continuing a tradition of supporting the troops that began back in WWII. The young men and women we visited were upbeat, motivated, and a tribute to the quality of those who wear the cloth of the nation. I’m in awe of every single one of them, and whatever we gave to the troops paled in comparison to the inspiration we received.
Cartoonists and our escorts at Walter Reed
And behind the scenes, taking no credit but having a huge impact on the well-being of our servicemen and women, were the hard working employees and volunteers of the USO. They were everywhere, and completely tied in to the needs and comforts of our uniformed personnel. If you ever have a tough time deciding where to send your CFC donation, save yourself some time and send it to the USO. It will be money well spent.
The medical staffs at all three military hospitals had one priority: the care of their patients. They work miracles there. We were able to draw a few cartoons for them too, but – on their insistence – only after we had seen all the patients first. Injuries and wounds suffered in a war zone are terrible things. But it is a good feeling to know that if the worst happens, the patients will receive the best medical treatment available anywhere.
The joy of Easter, the exhilaration of Captain Phillips’ rescue, and the inspiration from a USO tour. It was a good day indeed.
If you are interested in supporting our ongoing efforts to visit wounded troops, click here to see how. We could use your help.