Your support of Spirit of America is important to our country’s future. I’m writing to explain why.
I served 42 years as a United States Marine. I led Marines in combat in Iraq, commanded all US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, and served as Commandant of the Marine Corps. I retired in 2019 after four years as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer.
These experiences gave me an understanding of what is needed on the front lines and what is needed strategically for America to prevail. Combined with my direct experience with Spirit of America, I have special insight into the organization’s contribution to our troops and diplomats and to America’s security.
I met Jim Hake in December 2003 shortly after he founded Spirit of America. I was a Marine Colonel at the time serving as Chief of Staff to Major General James Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division. Jim impressed me with his conviction that citizens like him could make a difference. Like all Spirit of America supporters today, he only wanted one thing: to know how he could help. He wanted an opportunity to serve. Jim embodied the characteristics that define the American spirit: optimism, initiative, and generosity. He’s since built a unique organization that embodies those same qualities.
Over 17 years, I’ve witnessed Spirit of America contribute in every kind of situation – keeping our troops and diplomats safe in war zones, preventing conflict with proactive assistance in West Africa, supporting America’s friends in the fight in Ukraine and Iraqi Kurdistan, and helping those who serve abroad show the world the best of who Americans are and what we stand for.
The reason all this is important is that with continued terrorism and extremism, as well as adversaries in China and Russia, we face growing threats to our security and way of life.
We are in an existential competition of ideas. America’s idea is the promise of a free and better life – the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our adversaries have a dark and regressive view of human liberty and dignity. Their idea is an authoritarian model that would extinguish the freedoms and values that generations of Americans have fought to defend.
To win this competition of ideas, we need the American people and private sector. Our government can’t do it alone. Without citizens like you, we would be fighting with one hand tied behind our back. Working together is the only way we will prevail.
Spirit of America represents a new capability – not just another nonprofit. Spirit of America has figured out how to deliver the power of American citizens and the private sector directly to our troops and diplomats on the front lines. Its entrepreneurial private-public model is a game-changer. And it works. It helps America win by bringing the very best of the American people around the world.
I’ve learned that time is the most precious thing we all have. I invest my time in the things I care about most deeply. Having served overseas for so many years – missing birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, holidays, and more – I am spending much of my time with my family. I am also spending it with Spirit of America. I joined the Advisory Board to help realize the organization’s vision. Spirit of America’s potential is almost unlimited.
I hope that our children will be able to say what I have been able to say throughout my life: that the United States of America is an exceptional nation, and we are the most secure, prosperous, and influential nation in the world. We want to be able to say that years from now, and without exaggeration, that’s really what this is all about.
Thank you for supporting Spirit of America. Because of you, there are American troops, partner forces, and innocent civilians with lives and limbs. America is more secure. Please stay with us, and, if you can, please do more. Your support is important to our country’s future.