In my 37-year career in the US Foreign Service, I served as an ambassador six times, in Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I have also had the honor of receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and being named an Honorary US Marine. Now, I serve on Spirit of America’s Advisory Board. I am proud to have joined an all-star team.
As an ambassador in the Middle East, I saw first-hand the importance of bringing together our military, diplomats, and citizens to solve critical problems. Whether you’re a diplomat, or a military commander, you need every advantage you can get. Spirit of America provides that advantage. Spirit of America brings the strengths of our citizens and private sector to the table. It saves lives. It makes those who serve America abroad more successful in their difficult missions.
And, Spirit of America is fast. If you look at any crisis — such as in Lebanon with the devastating blast to the Beirut port — within days, Spirit of America provides the assistance that US personnel on the front lines say is needed. Government just can’t move that quickly. The Spirit of America team can and does.
We have the best armed forces in the world. Nobody is even close. A lot of what we do now relies on Special Forces. They’re agile, compact, and have a very broad range of skill sets. Spirit of America is the special forces of the nonprofit world. Their team is working alongside our Special Operations Forces right now in Syria. No one else is doing that. It is a new chapter in the book of military-assisted humanitarian development. In fact, Spirit of America may be the whole book.
There is another need in America today that is just as important as Spirit of America’s work on the front lines. The attacks of 9/11 were not directed against the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. They were directed against the United States of America. We have adversaries around the world who see us as an enemy. They don’t care about party labels, and neither should we. We should work together for the betterment of our country and our national security. That’s what Spirit of America is all about. Spirit of America’s willingness to reach out to citizens and enlist their participation is crucial to the fundamental essence of American democracy.
The bottom line is that we are all in this together, and we need to work together. No one is doing that better than Spirit of America.
Our troops, our diplomats, and our great nation need your participation. Please support Spirit of America with a gift this year.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker
US Department of State, Retired