Ryan Owens Changes a Presidency


Sometimes the course of history is changed by the actions of one person.  We don’t always recognize it when it happens. Last night we may have watched one of those moments; when a brave American patriot changed the course of history. That patriot is Ryan Owens.  

Ryan was a decorated United States Navy SEAL senior chief petty officer. He died in a raid in Yemen as the result of an order given by President Trump. Ryan’s sacrifice on the battlefield could change the course of a presidency. 

A President Prepared

For many of us, our biggest concern about Donald Trump was that he wouldn’t take the job seriously.  We wondered if he would be the first President to start a war with a Tweet. It was hard to imagine him executing the solemn duties that are required of a president. Could he be serious? Could he be solemn? Could he be presidential? Is he able to focus on what transcends his Twitter feed and the talking news heads?

Not to say he is totally unprepared for this. Many presidents might be intimidated by the opulence of the office and the pace of the White House. Meeting with foreign aides and dignitaries can be challenging.  Making deals and having the weight of the economy on their shoulders is daunting. But I don't think any of this intimidates or surprises Donald Trump. He has been doing many of these things already, just in the business arena. So it won’t surprise me if he slides into those roles somewhat easily. 

One Thing You Can’t Learn in Business

But one thing that a president cannot be prepared for and cannot learn in the business world is the weight of giving an order that results in the death of a marine.

And looking into the brokenhearted eyes of a gold star mother, father, wife, husband or children is something that will change you forever. It’s a heavy burden to carry. We've seen it play out in the gray hairs, wrinkles and slumped shoulders of presidents in the past. And now President Trump carries a little of that weight as well.

A Stone in His Pocket

President Trump gave the order that resulted in the death of Ryan Owens. He went to Dover and witnessed the dignified transfer. He looked into the eyes of Ryan’s wife, tears streaming down her face. These experiences will not leave you unchanged. And I pray that this weight will be a stone in his pocket that he carries. Not enough to weigh him down from doing all the other things he's charged with, but a constant reminder that this power he's been given, this responsibility that he's been entrusted with, is a solemn duty. Not one to be handled without great care.

As a military wife who has worked with Gold Star families I know this weight. I know the cost of freedom. And I want to know that my president has a sense of that too. I want to know that when he's making decisions he will remember the potential cost of that freedom. Not so that he's paralyzed from taking military action, because our Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines signed up to fight when necessary.

But in the lesser moments, in the day-to-day chaos, I want him to remember that this is not about him. It's about us and it's about the future. We don't have any more time for petty bickering or name-calling. 

Time to Lead

It is time to lead Mr. President. It is time to get on your knees and pray for guidance. It is time to take hold of the agenda that you sent forward last night. Pick a few battles that you can win and go after them with gusto. Ronald Reagan did not fight every battle because he knew he couldn't win them all. So pick your battles wisely and win.

We are counting on you Mr. President. Not to make America great again, because that's up to all of us, but to lead by example. Be a cheerful warrior. Fight hard but not dirty. If you do these things, we will be there for you.  We will back you up and we will celebrate the victories.

Skeptical Optimism

Donald Trump wasn't my first choice and I'm still kind of skeptical. But I'm watching with anticipation for his great legacy to unfold. Last night was a turning point. May he take hold of his destiny and rise to the occasion. We will be praying for him and watching.  We will celebrate his victories and call him out when he missteps. He should expect it. 

But for today, I am taking a deep breath and inhaling optimism.  Praying for my President, my country, and the family of Ryan Owens, who may have changed the course of history in ways yet to be seen.