“For Love Of Country” *Open Thread*


On the eve of Veterans Day (though the federal government observes it on Monday), I want to share with you a story that was in Parade.com on Sunday. It is a story from this book, For Love of Country: What Our Citizens Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, And Sacrifice.

Needless to say, there are many veterans who can teach us about heroism, sacrifice, and citizenship. I am sure we have all had someone in our lives who have been able to share with us stories of their service, or who have demonstrated through their behavior lessons to be learned. This story is about a man who does both. From Parade.com:

[…] David Oclander bounded through a Roman-columned entranceway and into the oldest public education building in Chicago, now home to a college-prep charter school. At 9:30 in the morning, he stood outside his classroom, greeting his 34 pupils. Ahead was one final sophomore English lesson—and then summer. This class was a chance for the students to celebrate completing another year of school in a city where the dropout rate averages 40 percent, and a chance for Mr. O to celebrate completing his second year of teaching.

Oclander looked each kid in the eye as he or she passed.

“Hey, great essay.”

Another student got a fist bump.

“Much improvement.”


A girl named Kayla said that she was thinking of dropping out. Oclander walked over and squatted next to her.

“I’ve failed so many times I’ve stopped counting,” he said. “Failing doesn’t define you. If you define yourself by a snapshot in time, you are shortchanging yourself. You’re all going to college. You all have the potential.”

Four years earlier, Oclander had delivered a similar rah-rah talk to soldiers in the badlands of Afghanistan, where he commanded a battalion task force of a thousand paratroopers. They were heading to the outskirts of Kandahar, the second-largest city in the country, where they would be building and manning checkpoints on every road heading into the urban center. It was a dangerous assignment that would leave them exposed to Taliban attacks, but it was an important component of a new U.S. strategy to beat back the insurgency. Keeping his troops focused and confident, and pushing them to learn and stay fit, improved their odds of returning home alive.

An Indiana-raised son of an Argentine immigrant, Oclander had spent his adult life defending his nation. Though he was a talented soccer player, he turned aside recruiting pitches from several universities to enroll in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He spent most of the next two decades in the 82nd Airborne Division, rising through the officer ranks. He deployed twice to Iraq and once to ­Afghanistan. When he returned, he took an assignment planning future military missions on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. […]

No doubt about it, Oclander is the real deal. He had no doubt faced all kinds of challenges on his tours of duty. But there were other challenges on his radar, especially as he took it upon himself to track the violence going on in Chicago:

[…] The greatest threat to our country is no longer overseas, it’s within our borders, he thought to himself.

He wondered what he, a career soldier, could do. With his leadership skills, his commitment to fitness, and his experience in mentoring young soldiers, he thought he had a special set of skills for working in a classroom.

Oclander sent out his résumé to some of the country’s largest charter school networks and public school systems. Your background is great, he was told, but do you have a teaching credential? Do you have classroom experience? When he said no, the universal response was thanks, but no thanks.

Unwilling to give up, Oclander tapped West Point’s alumni network and connected with a fellow graduate in Chicago who ran a mentoring program. From him, Oclander learned that Illinois allows charter schools to hire teachers without credentials. The man urged Oclander to contact the Noble Network of Charter Schools. When Oclander got in touch with Noble’s chief ­executive, Michael Milkie, he was invited for an interview.

“I don’t have credentials. I don’t have classroom experience,” Oclander told Milkie at the ­outset. “If that’s a deal killer, let me know and I won’t waste your time.”

“I hire talent,” Milkie said. “I don’t hire credentials.” […]

What a stunning statement to make about the threat to our nation. But Oclander sure has a point. And thus Oclander’s next career was set. He would be a teacher.

It was in that capacity that he continued to shine as a mentor:

Three months later, Oclander was teaching a course on leadership at a Noble school on Chicago’s crime-ridden West Side. It didn’t take long for students to learn that Mr. O wasn’t like their other teachers. Junior Dennis Martir decided to show up the old soldier. Martir, a Puerto Rican who lacked a ripple of fat on his muscled frame, challenged Oclander to a push-up contest. The competitor in Oclander couldn’t resist.

Students around them counted. Martir pumped out forty. Oclander hit sixty.

A few days later, Oclander pulled Martir aside to ask whether he had ever thought about applying to a service academy. Martir said he was thinking of enlisting in the army to become a rank-and-file soldier, if he couldn’t land a college scholarship.

Oclander explained that the academies provide a four-year college education for free, but they do require a five-year commitment to the armed forces upon graduation. “It sounds like the perfect combination for you,” he said, urging Martir to apply for a weeklong summer program at West Point. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

To make a long story short, sure enough, Martir went to that summer program. And now Martir is a Cadet at West Point. But there is much more to Martir’s story, and I urge you to read the rest HERE.

This story is all to highlight a point – not only do our veterans give more to our nation while in service for which we cannot thank them enough. But then, many of them go on to serve our country in all kinds of ways. The skills and the discipline they bring is nothing short of impressive, which makes them good hires, as the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz (and co-author of Love of Country), writes, also in Parade.com. There is not a doubt about that.

How fortunate we are to have men like Oclander willing to teach our young people, especially those at-risk youth. That says a lot about who he is, about his service, and those with a Love of Country.

And we are fortunate to have a force like the Few, the Proud, The Marines. Today is their 239th birthday:

Semper Fi!

This is an Open Thread.


49 Responses to ““For Love Of Country” *Open Thread*”

  1. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    LegalInsurrection.com had an article this morning that was primarily this video:

    With this important quote from one of the Obamacare architects: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.” (Link: http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/11/video-stupid-voters-would-have-killed-obamacare/)

    Yep – those “stupid voters” allowed this bill to be made law. I would say, though, that many of us did not WANT this law then, and many of us do not want it NOW. But sadly, there are enough “stupid voters” that voted for Obama twice so this damn thing was able to go through. Hopefully, that will be rectified now. But still – so much for the whole Obama “Transparency” BS, huh?

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    Thank you so much for the story of Mr. O and how he continues to serve this country. How lucky we are to have people like him. And like Martir. Give young people mentors they can emulate with pride and they will surprise us all. Leave them to the likes of rap music and gangs and they will never rise to what they can be. And we will all miss out on a generation. That must not happen. And thanks to heroes and patriots like Mr. O I have some hope it will not.

    Thanks again Rev you done us all proud.

    This is a day early but that’s fine with me:

  3. HELENK3 Says:


    there to lecture on how the rabble must be kept poor and indoctrinated not educated?

    look at the difference

  4. cindyindie Says:

    Cuz—Many thanks for the inspiring story of David Oclander’s! What a man..

    Here is a version of God Bless America I had not seen….It’s both “campy” and sweet, IMO.

  5. HELENK3 Says:


    the backtrack bunch might get the race war they have in pushing.

  6. HELENK3 Says:


    lost integrity

  7. HELENK3 Says:

    Major shakeup promised at the VA. On FOX now. should be video later. many to fired for living up to values of VA

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      They were discussing this on Outnumbered earlier. So far, only FOUR people have been fired as a result of the VA scandal. And one of the things Jesse Waters pointed out was that the new director said these people may be DISCIPLINED, which is not the same as being FIRED.

      Andrea Tantaros highlighted for all those who think they want single-payer insurance, take a look at how the gov’t has run the VA, because THAT is exactly what they would get.

  8. HELENK3 Says:

    look what Greta woke up to this morning


  9. kenoshamarge Says:

    CNN: Midterms Show ‘That Old Clinton Magic Doesn’t Really Work’

  10. kenoshamarge Says:

    Interesting read IMO.

    Valerie Jarrett – The Obama Whisperer

    No one has understood Valerie Jarrett’s role, until now


    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Holy smokes, that is some article, Marge. It is truly astonishing how much influence and power this woman has in the president, his policies, and US. I bet Michelle is none too thrilled with her, especially when you look at some of those photos of her with Obama. Nothing like a love struck sycophant who doesn’t understand why Obama isn’t more popular because he’s so dreamy (okay, e article didn’t say that, but close enough, right?), to rub the wife the wrong way, huh?

      What was really telling, though, was the fear people had in speaking even when they no longer work there. THAT is disturbing indeed…

  11. kenoshamarge Says:

    And then there’s this…

  12. HELENK3 Says:


    Julia lost

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Isn’t it amazing that the party that claims to be pro-woman wants women to be damn near helpless? That’s just plain stupid and the “Life of Julia” showed that. That and cocoa boy in his jammies. How many little boys are drugged for the crime of acting like little boys? Hyperactive? Of course they are! Except for the likes of cocoa boy and his ilk. I raised to boys and it took every bit of strenghth, patience and endurance I had. The thought of of drugging them never occurred to me. And had someone suggested it I would have smacked them upside the head.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        That whole thing summed up who really has the “War on Women,” and it sure isn’t the GOP. THEY aren’t advocating that women turn their bodies over to the gov’t and treat them as nothing more than reproductive organs. I am APPALLED at what women now tolerate so easily, and not just that, but throw their whole hearted support toward as they demand the Daddy Government take care of them. Amazing.

        I had three brothers – though I was probably the most hyper of them all, but yeah – that is crazy…

  13. HELENK3 Says:

    discussion on FOX about backtrack taking out his pen to raise the minimum wage. maybe I missing something but why are so many so willing to bypass the founding father’s idea of three branches of government and have a dictator?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Beats the hell out of me, Helen. I simply do not understand why people are so willing to dismiss our brand of government. Admittedly, too many Americans don’t know what it is from those civics polls – maybe that is why those things are no longer pushed and encouraged in schools, so people like Obama can do whatever he wants and most people don’t even know it is wrong. Who knows. But it is troubling indeed.

      I did hear Byron York this morning say that EOs are not legally binding, which is what I always thought. I mean, how could they be? But too often, Congress just goes along with them. York said there are a number of ways the Congress can overcome them, and I hope they do…

  14. HELENK3 Says:

    your team has a lot of class


    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Green Bay, and Lambeau Field have never lost the small town feel like the giant stadiums in very large cities. Green Bay has a population of only 104,000. Can you imagine another pro-team with such a small city to support the team? And yet you do not see empty seats at Lambeau Field even in bad years.

      The left had best be careful with it’s trashing of the military, gun laws, we have so many hunters here who are not in favor. The majority of the state is conservative, patriotic and hunters for the most part. And Packer fans of course. The small Dem enclaves are densley populated and manage to outnumber the rural areas. And naturally that’s where the majority of the people seeking freebies live.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        WOW, Marge – I did not realize Green Bay was so small. That is incredible! It really does say so much abt Green Bay, and its residents. Very cool.

        No kidding abt the gun laws. Even if someone is a Dem, there is a chance they hunt, especially if they live in rural areas. I think the “elite” forget that sometimes…

  15. HELENK3 Says:


    sound familiar?

  16. kenoshamarge Says:

    And lest we forget…

  17. kenoshamarge Says:

    I thought you might find this interesting

  18. HELENK3 Says:


    Quite a woman and one hell of a lady

  19. HELENK3 Says:

  20. HELENK3 Says:

    for those of you that have e-readers here are a couple of sites that have free and bargain books


    here is another site


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