By Tim Horan
August 17, 2014
Brownback reminds them, Kansas is as American as it gets
Gov. Sam Brownback said being in the military is an enormous responsibility.
Quoting a line from the last Superman movie “Man of Steel,” he said being from Kansans and in the military has a greater responsibility.
In the Superman movie, the general was finding out about Superman after he had just saved the United States, Brownback told the graduates of the Kansas Army National Guard Officer Candidate School on Saturday afternoon.
“How do we know you will always act in America’s interest?” Brownback said the general asked Superman.
“He said, quote, ‘I grew up in Kansas, General. That’s as American as it gets.’ “
That drew applause from the 17 graduates, their friends, families and fellow guardsmen at the 58th graduation and commissioning ceremonies held at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy.
‘Where are you from?’
He told the graduates receiving their commissions as second lieutenants that one day they would be at a faraway place in the world. Someone will ask, “Where are you from?”
“You are going to say, ‘Kansas.’ And they are going to say, ‘That’s about as American as it gets’ … if they know where Kansas is,” he said.
Brownback, who said he served on foreign relations committees and visited many places overseas as a Kansas senator, said that if the United States military doesn’t show up, a lot of times nothing happens.
“Certainly nothing good happens,” he said. “When our young men and women show up, they are organized, they know what they are about. They are not messing around.”
He said, unfortunately, the world is such that the U.S. military has to have a presence.
“The sheriff has to show up. Matt Dillon has to come out of the office,” he said. “When he does, things get better. When he doesn’t, it gets worse. Unfortunately we are seeing some of that right now in the world. We’re not sure if the United States is going to show up or not.”
He said the world is a much more dangerous place.
Brownback said that after 9/11 he was in the U.S. Senate.
“We as a country really weren’t sure what it was that hit us right afterwards,” he said. “We were searching around, and there was a lot of fear.”
He quoted Tony Blair, then prime minister of Great Britain, who addressed Congress.
“I know there is somebody at home in Idaho or Montana who’s saying, why this, why now? Why does the United States have to do this? Why do we have to shoulder these responsibilities, and why now?” Brownback said Blair said at the end of his speech. “Because it’s your time and it’s your calling is why.”
“It’s our time, when it’s our call for the greatest nation that this world has seen,” he said.
As officers, he told the graduates, they are going to visit a lot of different places in their military careers.
“And it isn’t always going to be pleasant,” he said. “It isn’t always going to be like today, where we are celebrating. Most of it is going to be pretty gray. … And you are going say, ‘How on Earth did I get from Kansas and end up right here?’ Well, you signed up for that and you had a calling for that, too.”
He advised the graduates to lead their the troops not out of authority but out of respect.
“They respect you. They respect what you stand for. They respect who you are,” he said.
“Hear the gunfire and run to it,” he said, referring to the war horse that smells the smoke of battle and runs toward it. “That’s what you are going to have to do. That’s your calling. Be smart about it. Be wise about it. But you’ve got to run to it. Because the rest of us depend on you. You hold the line.”
Brownback told the graduates of a man who had just lost both a child and a grandchild in the same year to accidents.
“I saw him and I said, ‘I don’t know how you are still standing,” Brownback said. “I couldn’t if that happened to me. The man said, ‘You got a choice when things don’t go right. You can either get bitter or you can get better.’ “
Brownback said he was not in the military but has a lot of respect for the military and veterans. He started his speech asking the veterans to stand to be recognized.
“We never recognize the people that serve in the military enough,” he said.
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