The Children Left Behind


It always seems to happen. When the powerful assert their influence unlawfully, the truth comes out, but seldom where you expect it.

The shocking release and swap of the Guantanamo 5 for an alleged American soldier deserter brought a firestorm of criticism from the lowly, the unknown, and the powerless. The soldiers from Bergdahl’s platoon taught America a lesson in duty, honor and allegiance to truth. Oops, the administration forgot that there were young men on the ground, Bergdahl’s comrades in arms, who were witnesses to his desertion. Bravely and boldly without rancor, but fortified with the truth, these young enlisted men spoke up in the face of a White House Rose Garden hero welcome and Susan Rice’s outrageous comment that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction.

No doubt, the mighty dismissed and discounted Bergdahl’s platoon mates. After all, these are lowly soldiers, enlisted kids, without an Ivy League education. But the truth is a funny thing; It emboldens the weak, empowers the lowly, and exposes the mighty. The administration also forgot about the children of the fallen soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Irag. The families whose loved ones were killed by the enemy combatants housed in Guantanamo. These now grown children just might have an opinion about the release of the 5 most dangerous terrorists in Gitmo. Sure enough, along comes Alison Spann.

Her last name might be familiar. Her father, Johnny Micheal Spann, a CIA agent, former Marine was the first casualty of the Afghanistan war. Alison was 9 years old when her father was killed. 33 days later, Alison’s mother died of cancer. Alison was an orphan. Don’t feel sorry for Alison. Her father’s patriotic and fearless blood courses through her veins.

Alison appeared on Fox with Greta Van Susteren this week, and had an important opinion about the release of the terrorists from Gitmo. Alison, like the young men of Bergdahl’s platoon, earned the right to speak the truth to power. What the administration conveniently forgets is that the children of the fallen grow up, and are uniquely entitled to express their opinion. More than most, Alison Spann, as a survivor of the war on terror, brings a powerful and righteous point of view, which should have been heard before making this rash decision. This smart, beautiful, and poised college graduate freely expressed her opinion about the Bergdahl prisoner swap: seen here

SPANN: “I think that two of the prisoners who were just swapped were present when my father was killed. I first heard the news, I had heard about the Bergdahl swap and I immediately called my grandfather and consulted him about current affairs like I usually do, and he said to me I think that two of the prisoners who were just swapped were present when your father was killed. And at first, I was completely shocked and I called my stepmother and she surfed around and she confirmed that was true. So, as a whole, my family and I just had discussions about it and we were all extremely shocked, and saddened that our government would do something like this.”

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think would have been the better idea?

ALISON SPANN: “You know, it’s hard to say because it is a tough situation. But I believe that the Obama administration could have come up with a better solution. I don’t think that Americans negotiating with terrorists should ever happen. You know, it’s being debated right now whether or not Obama consulted with Congress but to me it should never be a question is if the president consulted with congress before making a decision such as this.”

VAN SUSTEREN: As you have seen things sort of a rule unfold in the last couple of nights in Iraq, obviously not where your father died, your thoughts about war and our foreign policy is what?

ALISON SPANN “We are in a crisis situation. I think that Americans have become complacent. I think we need to start becoming aware and updated on current affairs. I think that the American people it need to expect more from their leadership than what we are getting right now. The only way to do that is to stay updated on what’s happening, and you know, put pressure on the government and question the decisions being made.”

The brave comments by Alison Spann and the young soldiers from Bergdahl’s platoon remind me of the importance of truth by the great novelist and social critic, George Bernanos.

“Anyone who is indifferently open to truth or falsehood is ripe for any kind of tyranny. The passion for truth goes along with the passion for liberty….Tyranny is not behind us, but in front of us; we must look it in the face, now or never. The world will be saved only by free men. We must make a world for free men.”

The passion for truth is echoed by Alison and the young soldiers. We were denied this truth before the prisoner swap. So, wait, not only were these released terrorists, the most dangerous, but they were present when Johnny Spann was killed? Bowe Bergdahl was not captured and kidnapped by the enemy. Pvt. Bergdahl deserted his post and platoon and soldiers were killed looking for him? Doesn’t sound like this prisoner swap deserved a Rose Garden ceremony. Perhaps, if Congress was properly notified about this pending deal, someone could have checked in with Alison Spann, and Bergdahl’s platoon. They earned the right to weigh in on this decision.

Alison is a brave American, daughter of a fearless and patriotic soldier who, unlike Bergdahl, served his country with “honor and distinction.” She was only 9 years old when her father came home in a flag draped coffin from Afghanistan. Alison learned at a young age the terrible price for freedom, but she also learned that truth matters. So a young girl stood up to power, spoke the truth, and called out the President. The administration forgot about the young men and women who paid a great price for our freedom. These young patriots spoke truth to power, fearlessly and patriotically. Looks like America is still the land of the free and home of the brave.

It reminds us of the final verse of the Marine Hymn which no doubt was sung over Johnny Spann’s flag draped coffin. “In many a strife we’ve fought for life And never lost our nerve. If the Army and the Navy Ever look on Heaven’s scenes, They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines.”

ArticleLara Barger