By Brian Shul, USAF (ret.)



The authenticity of the following is unverified, but appears true.
Regardless, the ideas could not be better put into words.

Major (USAF, ret.)Brian Shul's Chico (CA) Rally Address

Thank you for the opportunity to address this rally today. 
It is not often that a fighter pilot is asked to be the keynote
speaker. There is a rumor  that they are unable to put two 
sentences together coherently.
I'd like to  dispel that rumor today by saying that I can do 
that, and in fact that I have written several books. I always
wanted to be an author, and I ARE one  now.

I'm a pretty lucky person really. I'm like the little boy who
tells his father that when he grows up he wants to be a jet pilot, 
and  his father replies, Sorry son, you can't do both. I made 
that choice a long time ago and flew the jets. I was fortunate 
to live my dream, and then some. I survived something I shouldn't
have, and today, tell people that I am 28 years old, as it has 
been that long since I was released from the hospital. It was like
I received a second life, and in the past 28 years, I have gotten 
to see and do much, so much that I would not have thought 
possible. Returning to fly jets in the Air Force, flying the SR-71
on spy missions, spending a year with the Blue Angels, running my 
own photo studio. and so much more. And now, seeing our country 
attacked in such a heinous way.
Some of you here today have heard me speak before, and know that 
I enjoy sharing my aviation slide show. I have brought no slides 
to show you, as I feel compelled today, to address different 
issues concerning this very difficult time in our nation's 
I stand before you today, not as some famous person, or war hero.
I am far from that. You know, they say a good landing is one you 
can walk away from, and a really great one is when you can use 
the airplane again. Well, I did neither, and I speak to you to 
today as simply a fellow American citizen.
Like you, I was horrified at the events of September 11th.  But 
I was not totally surprised that such a thing could happen, or 
that there were people in the world who would perpetrate such 
deeds, willingly, against us. Having sat through many classified 
briefings while in the Air Force, I was all too aware of the 
threat, and I can assure you, it has always been there in one
form or another. And those of you who have served in the defense 
of this nation, know all too well the response that is needed. 
In every fighter squadron I was in, there was a saying that we 
knew to be true, that said, when there was a true enemy, you 
negotiate with that enemy with your knee in his chest and your 
knife at his throat.
Many people are unfamiliar with this way of thinking, and  shrink
from its ramifications. War is such a messy business, and there 
are many who want no part of it, but rush to bask in the security 
blanket of its victory.
I spent an entire military career fighting Communism, and was
very proud to do so. We won that war, we beat one of the worst 
scourges to humankind the world has known. But it took a great 
effort, over many years of sustained vigilance and much sacrifice 
by so many whose names you will never know. And perhaps our nation, 
so weary from so long a cold war, relaxed too much and felt the 
world was a safer place with the demise of the  Soviet Union. 
We indulged ourselves in our own lives, and gave little thought to 
the threats to our national security.
You know, normally my talks are laced with numerous jokes as I
share my stories, but I have very few jokes to tell this afternoon. 
These murdering fanatics came into our land, lived amongst our 
people, flew on our planes, crashed them into our buildings, and 
killed thousands of our citizens.
And nowhere along their gruesome path were they questioned or stopped.
The joke is on us. We allowed this country to become soft.
We shouldn't really be too surprised that this could happen.  Did
we really think that we could keep electing officials who put self
above nation and this would make us stronger? Did we really think 
that a strong economy adequately replaced a strong intelligence 
community? Did we imagine that a President who practically gave away 
the store on his watch, was insuring national security? While our
country was mired in the wasted excess of a White House sex scandal, 
the drums of war beat loudly in foreign lands, and we were deaf. Our 
response was to give the man two terms in office, and even then barely 
half the American public exercised their right to vote. We have only 
ourselves to blame. Our elected officials are merely a reflection of 
our own values and what we deem important.
Did we not realize that America had become a laughing stock around
the world? We had lost credibility, even amongst our allies. To our
enemies we had no resolve. We made a lot of money, watched a lot of 
TV, and understood little about what was happening beyond our shores. 
We were, simply, an easy target.
But we are a country awakened now. We have been attacked in our
homeland. We have now felt the reality of what an unstable and 
dangerous world it truly is. And still, in the face of this 
unprecedented carnage in our most prominent city, there are those who 
choose to take this opportunity to protest, and even burn the flag.
If I were the regents or alumni of certain large universities in
this county, I would be embarrassed to be producing students of such
ignorance and naive notions. Like mindless sheep, they march with 
painted faces and trite sayings on signs, blissfully ignorant of the 
world they live in, and the system that protects them, hoping maybe 
to make the evening news.
Perhaps if they had spent more time in class they would have learned
that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. They might
have learned that all it takes for evil to succeed in the world, is 
for good people to stand by and do nothing. If they had simply gone 
back in history as recently as the Viet Nam War, they would have 
learned that an enemy that knows it can never defeat us militarily, 
will persist as long as there is dissention and disruption in our 
land. Their ignorance can be understood, as their young empty minds 
have been filled with the re-written history tripe that tenured 
leftist professors can spew out with no fear of removal.
But the unwitting aid they provide the enemy, in disrupting the
national resolve, is unforgivable.
I think this is wonderful country, though, that gives everyone
their voice of dissention. I am all for people expressing their views
publicly because it makes it much easier for us to identify the truly
foolish, and to know who cannot be counted on in times of crisis. 
These are the weak and cowardly who, when the enemy is crashing 
through the front door, will cower in the back room, counting on better 
men than themselves to make and keep them free. Well, the enemy is at 
our front door, and isn't it interesting that those who cry loudest and 
most often for their rights,  are usually those least willing to defend 
I heard a student on TV the other day say that this war  just
wasn't in his plans and he would simply head to Canada if a draft 
occurred. Just wasn't in his plans. I wonder what plans the young men 
at the beaches of Normandy had that they never got to live. I wonder 
if it was in the plans of 19-year-old boys in Viet Nam to lie dying in 
a jungle far from home.
Iguess the men and women at Pearl Harbor one morning had their plans
slightly rearranged too. Gee, I hope we haven't inconvenienced this
student. Those people in the World Trade Center have no more plans.
It is up to us to have a plan now. And it isn't going to be easy. Who 
ever said it would? Just what part of our history spoke of how easy it 
was to form a free nation? It has never been easy and has always 
required vigilance and sacrifice, and sometimes war, to preserved this 
union. If it were easy, everyone would have done it. But no one else 
has, and we stand alone as the most unique country on earth.
And isn't it amazing that we have spent a generation stamping God
out of our schools and government, and now as a nation, have 
collectively turned to God in memorial services, prayer vigils and 
churches around this country.
I am also very disturbed to hear that there are people in this
country, at this particular time, who feel it inappropriate to wear 
the flag on their lapel because they are on the news or in a public 
job, and school officials who want to remove pro-American stickers 
so as not to offend foreign students. Well I am offended that these 
people call themselves Americans. I am offended that innocent people 
were killed in a mass attack of unthinkable proportions. And I am 
offended at listening to TV broadcasters speak to me condescendingly, 
with a bias that screams of their drowning in a cesspool of political 
correctness. I pity the person who thinks they are going to remove 
this flag from my lapel.
This flag of ours is the symbol of all that is good about this
country. America is an idea. It is an idea lived, and fought for, 
by a people.
We are America, and this is our symbol. We are imperfect in many ways,
but we continue to strive toward the ideal our forefathers laid down  
for us over 225 years ago. I could never imagine desecrating that 
symbol. Perhaps there are many people in this nation who have never 
been abroad, or in harms way, and seen the flag upon their return. 
Those poor souls can never know the deep pride and honor one feels 
to see it wave, to know that there is still a good old USA. With all 
our warts we are still the greatest nation on earth, and the flag is 
the most powerful symbol of that greatness.  When I was in grade 
school, we used to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. 
It is something I never forgot. I wonder how many children even know 
that pledge today.
This flag is our history, our dreams, our accomplishments,
indelibly expressed in bright red, white, and blue. This flag was 
carried in our Revolutionary War, although it had many less stars. 
But it persevered and evolved throughout a war we had no right to 
believe we could in. But we did, and built a country around it. 
This flag, tattered and  battle worn, waved proudly from the mast, 
as John Paul Jones showed the enemy was true resolve was. This banner 
was raised by the hands of brave men on a godforsaken island called 
Iwo Jima, and became a part of the most famous photo of the 20th 
Century. Those men are all dead now, but their legacy lives on in 
the Marine Memorial in Washington, DC. Those of you who have
seen it will recall that inscribed within the stone monument are the
words-When Uncommon Valor, Was A Common Virtue- I don't believe
you'll see the words, "it was easy", anywhere on it. This flag has 
even been to the moon, planted there for all time by men with a 
vision, and the courage to see it through.
I personally know what it is to see the flag, and feel something
deep inside that makes you feel you are a part of something much 
bigger than yourself. Laying in a hospital bed, I can vividly recall 
looking out the only window in the room and on Sundays, seeing that 
big garrison flag flying proudly in the breeze. It filled the entire 
window, and filled my heart with a motivation that helped me leave 
that bed, and enabled me to be standing here today. And many years 
later, while fighting another terrorist over Libya, my back seater 
and I outraced Khaddafi's missiles in our SR-71 as we headed for 
the Mediterranean, and I can still clearly see that American flag 
patch on the shoulder of my space suit, staring at me in the
rear view mirror as we headed west, and it was a good feeling. Now
don't ask me why we had rear view mirrors in the worlds fastest jet, 
I can assure you, no one was gaining on us that day.
I am so happy to see so many flags out here today. Long may it
History will judge us. How we confront this chapter of  American
history will be important for the future of this great nation. This 
will  be a war like none other we have endured. The combatants will 
not just be the soldier on the battlefront, but will be fought by 
us the citizens. We are on the battlefield now; the war has been 
brought to us. We will determine the outcome of this war by how well 
we remain vigilant, how patient we are with tightened security, how 
well we support the economy, and most importantly, in the resolve
we show the enemy. There are some things worth fighting for, and 
this country is one of them.
I pray for our leaders at this time. In the Pacific, during WW
II, Admiral Bull Halsey said, "There are no great men, just great
circumstances, and how they handle those circumstances will
determine the outcome of history". Our future and the future of 
coming generations are in our hands. Wars are not won just on 
military fronts, but by the resolve of the people. We must remain
tenaciously strong in the pursuit of this enemy that threatens 
free people everywhere.
I am encouraged that we will win this war. Even before the first
shot was finished being fired, there were brave Americans on 
Flight 93, fighting back. These people were the first true heroes 
of this conflict, and gave their lives to save their fellow 
This nation, this melting pot of humanity, this free republic,
must be preserved. This idea that is America is important enough 
to be fended. Fought for. Even die for. The enemy fears what you 
have, for if their people ever become liberated into a free 
society, tyrannical dictatorships will cease and he will lose 
How can they ever understand this country of ours, so
self-indulgent and diverse, yet when attacked, so united in the 
defense of its principals.
This is the greatest country in the world because brave people
sacrificed to make it that way. We are a collective mix of greatness
and greed, hi-tech and heartland. We are the country of Mickey Mouse
and Mickey Mantle; from John Smith and Pocahontas to John Glen and 
an Atlas booster; from Charles Lindbergh to Charley Brown; from Moby
Dick to Microsoft; we are a nation that went from Kitty Hawk to 
Tranquility Base in less than 70 years; we are rock and roll, and 
the Bill of Rights; we are where everyone else wants to be, the 
greatest nation in the world.
The enemy does not understand the dichotomy of our society, but
they should understand this; we will bandage our wounds, we will 
bury our dead; and then we will come for you. and we will destroy 
you and all you stand for.
* I read this quote recently and would like to share it with you:

We are pressed on every side, but not crushed,
Perplexed, but not in despair,
Persecuted, but not abandoned,
Struck down, but not destroyed.

That is from II Corinthians.  (*I could not find these exact words
in II Corinthians; however, those perspectives persist throughout 
Paul's testimony.  AK) Not too long ago it would have been politically
incorrect to quote from the Bible. I am so happy to be politically 
INCORRECT. And I am so proud to be an American.
Thank you all for coming out today and showing your support for
your government, and your nation. You are the true patriots, you 
are the soldiers of this war, you are the strength of America.

Brian Shul , Chico, CA -
October 3, 2001