The 118th Congress won’t be sworn in and seated until January. But it’s not too soon to start planning what needs to be done and when. In the Marines, we used to call this process “mission planning,” and it was best to do sequentially — the chronological order in which various tasks needed to be accomplished.
Let’s begin with what a newly elected or reelected member of Congress should do, starting on the 9th of November (and it’s not racing to your office to measure the drapes or where to place your “I love me” photos, awards, diplomas and press clips). Instead, get down on your knees and beg for God’s blessing on your tenure, for He has a plan, and your behavior ought to comport with it.
Next, thank your spouse and any offspring for the sacrifices made on your behalf because if you really are going to do what you need to do in the House or Senate, you won’t be seeing much of them after you take the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic …”
And then, because Nov. 10 is the 247th anniversary of founding the United States Marine Corps, have one of your plentiful staff members get the phone numbers for every U.S. Marine you know — active duty, reserve, retired or otherwise. Especially important are contacts with the widows and orphans of fallen Marines, like those of retired Col. Paul B. Goodwin, USMC. He was a real American hero — a courageous, highly decorated, two-tour veteran of the Vietnam War, revered and admired by all who observed him in harm’s way. He was a brilliant tactician, fearless in combat and selfless in his regard and compassion for those he led. Yet, since Goodwin unexpectedly passed on to be with our Lord and Savior on Oct. 27, no person in a position of leadership has yet bothered to pick up a phone to express condolences or offer support for Debbie, his grieving widow, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Your next important chronological event is Nov. 11, Veterans Day. There are some who claim, hopefully with tongue in cheek, this date is a national holiday because it is the day after the Marine Corps birthday, and Marines need that long to sober up.
Just so you know, here are the facts on how Nov. 11 became a national holiday. (Hint: Have one of your soon-to-be-crucial staff members clip this for your “important dates” calendar.)
World War I (“the war to end all wars”) ended with a mutually accepted cease-fire on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. A year later, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11 Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress resolved to make every Armistice Day a “national observance” and in 1938 passed a bill to make “Armistice Day” an official holiday. Then, in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bipartisan congressional bill designating Nov. 11th as Veterans Day, an official federal holiday to honor the service of all American veterans — and among them, Col. Paul B. Goodwin.
On this Veterans Day 2022, we encourage those of you, soon to be part of the 118th Congress — and all our countrymen — to remember Nov. 11 is more than a day off work or for sales of appliances, cars and furniture. Instead, recall the nearly 20 million men and women who serve and served as soldiers, sailors, Guardsmen and Marines. We all pledged, “we have your back.” That’s not the slogan of a mattress company. It’s a promise all who serve make to all Americans.