Secretary Pompeo remarks at the National Convention of the American Legion


SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning. Thank you for that warm welcome. Thank you, Commander Reistad, for that kind
introduction. I also want to recognize Adjutant Dan Wheeler
as well. Thank you all very much for having me here
today. This is pretty special for me. As a former soldier myself, it’s great to
be meeting with you all here in the heartland, in this very special place at your National
Convention. And as a Kansan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t
acknowledge my state’s rich history contributing to the Legion. No less than 15 Kansas troops attended the
founding Legion event in France. The American Legion Department of Kansas can
claim a president – Dwight Eisenhower – three national commanders, and a singular American
hero: Senator Bob Dole. (Applause.) And your future is as bright as your past
is glorious. The nearly 25,000 Legionnaires who comprise
the nearly 300 posts scattered all throughout all corners of the Sunflower State are shaping
America for years to come, and it’s a peerless passion for service. I want to thank you. I heard – I think we’re – I think I
figured out where Kansas is. As a proud member of Post 4, I’m still paying
my dues and I missed steak night. (Laughter and applause.) I’m proud of that service. I’m proud of the fact that I’m a member
for a lot of reasons. It’s because this is an enormously great
organization in what it’s done over the last 100 years to stand up for America’s
freedom and some of the core pillars of American life – the things that I work on every day
as an American diplomat. You helped the Boy Scouts get going in 1919
and have supported them ever since. You lobbied for the creation of what would
become the Department of Veterans Affairs. You pushed for the GI Bill during World War
II. And I know younger vets are grateful to you
for pushing for an even better GI Bill after 9/11. And not too long ago, you were a force behind
President Trump’s signing to make sure that veterans are cared for, and when they’re
cared for those who are doing that work are held accountable. You should be very proud of that accomplishment. (Applause.) It’s very simple: you have contributed mightily
to proud American achievements. By doing so you, your organization, each of
you as individuals, is a proud American achievement unto itself. In fact, America itself – the idea of America
and her promise – is at the core of everything that you do. And I want to talk about that today, because
it’s the preamble to your organization’s constitution that says, quote, “to foster
and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism,” end of quote. As The Chicago Tribune reported back in 1919,
Legionnaires adopted that very language unanimously and “spontaneously” as the “watchword”
of this organization. And America is pretty darn important to you,
as it is to me. And I want to tell you why and I want to talk
about Americanism today. I want to talk about what it means. Americanism means recognizing that America
is an exceptional nation. We’re the first nation founded on an idea
that government’s proper purpose is to protect unalienable rights for each and every human
being. And Americanism means our love of individual
liberty and human dignity sets us apart. It’s not that these principles are unique
to us, but we’ve shown a singular determination and courage in realizing them. Americanism, in your founding and our founding,
means pride in our recipe to create human flourishing – the rule of law, representative
government, property rights. Things that we sometimes take for granted,
as I travel around the world, I know that we should not. And of course, too, here in America, we cherish
our right to bear arms. (Applause.) My – whenever I talk about the Second Amendment,
my wife reminds me of two things. One, she has a concealed permit carry, and
two, that she’s better at it than I am. (Laughter.) Americanism, too, means confidence in America’s
unique role in the world. I see that as America’s most senior diplomat. It’s guided by our founders’ vision. So I’m honored to come before an audience
that isn’t going to get squeamish when I tell you that Americanism is something we
must be proud of each and every day. (Applause.) You all know this. You all knew this when you served. You felt it. You heard it. You saw it. You felt it, and so did I. Picture this: It’s about 3:45 a.m. It’s winter in a place called Bad Berneck,
West Germany. It’s wintertime. It’s cold. The phone rings. Second Lieutenant Pompeo grabs his gear. He runs to his car in what had to be below-zero
weather and drives like a bat out of hell towards headquarters. I mustered with B troop, 1st squadron, 2nd
armored cavalry regiment. Of course, as I’m driving to post, the questions
race. Are we ready? Has the Soviet Union decided to move west? Or, more likely, is this just a drill? It’s got to be a drill, right? It was a tense moment making sure my team
was ready. But whether it was a drill or the real deal,
my platoon was going to do well. We knew exactly our team’s mission. I knew when I arrived, I knew Staff Sergeant
Naboroski would be there, ensuring that every tank headed straight to the quick reaction
site to pick up its full basic load. I knew that my driver, an 18-year old from
Mississippi, would have made sure we had a full load of fuel and every bullet we could
find. A thousand tasks, all fully choreographed
and endlessly drilled. American lethality ready to move to battle
positions along the East German border that frankly we could have found in our sleep,
we had practiced so much. And here is what’s remarkable about that
– you all know this. What’s remarkable is that none of us in
that platoon were constitutional scholars. None of us were professors. None of us were politicians – at least not
then. We were 18, we were 22, we were 25. Staff Sergeant Naboroski might have been in
his 30s. But we all – you all – in some piece of
our warrior souls knew that we were serving because Americanism is great. Because Americanism is something worth defending,
and that because we knew that Americanism is something we must be proud of. (Applause.) To some of you, you may ask why are we talking
so much about this, but sadly, this assertion – once common at every levels of American
society ‒ has become too rare. Some of our leaders would say that the idea
of America, or of “Americanism,” means inherent racism, or sexism. Others say that Americanism is a code word
for a narrow-minded nationalism. Some even want us to reject the founding principles
which have blessed us since 1776. They want to substitute our founders’ words
for something else. They’d like us to shun those founding principles,
principles that were bestowed on us by God and codified in our Constitution and properly
taught in our schools’ civics courses. They want us to reject the very ideas that
are central to understanding our nation’s exceptionalism, and indeed its greatness. That can’t happen, and I’m counting on
you all to help me make sure that that never happens. (Applause.) And when it comes to Americanism in our foreign
policy, for decades, frankly we just plain ignored it. We didn’t lead. We let the bureaucrats in international organizations
lead us. We let our allies shun their responsibilities. We pretended our enemies were our friends,
and sometimes sadly we even appeased them. But those days are over. No more. The Trump administration – and you’ll
hear it from the Vice President tomorrow – we’ve gotten back to the basics. As I said when I was in Cairo now a few months
back, we’re not going to apologize for America anymore. (Applause.) No, Americanism is something that we must
be proud of. We’re putting it at the center of our foreign
policy. Every one of my diplomats all across the world
knows it, and is delivering it. It’s simple. Look, at its core – at its core, it means
honoring principles and returning to a foreign policy that had the vision of our founders
at its very center. I talked about this idea in a speech I gave
out in California at – (applause) – yeah. George Washington had it right. He counseled us against “inveterate antipathies
against particular nations, and passionate attachments” to “others.” He wanted us to look at the world dispassionately,
for us to see it as it is, for what it really is. Americanism – it means telling the truth
about the challenges we face. Look, this administration didn’t pretend
that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a responsible actor in the Middle East. We called out China’s bad behavior on trade
and on national security. We recognized – we recognized that North
Korea’s rogue behavior could not be ignored. Those are at the center, these are the core
of America’s founding principles, because Americanism means standing up for our principles,
for the American people, and supporting our unalienable rights wherever we go. It’s the same principles that we found,
too, in our Declaration of Independence. I’ve watched us wander from these principles,
and so I’ve taken a number of actions with President Trump’s support. I’ve launched a Commission on Unalienable
Rights to ensure that human rights policy around the world is grounding in basic American
founding principles. (Applause.) Americanism too – Americanism too means
believing the right of people to choose their own leaders. We’ve now mobilized 54 other countries to
support the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore democracy and prosperity in their
country. We too support the aspirations of the people
of Iran as they struggle under their brutal revolutionary regime. And Americanism means getting leadership right
around the world. We work with 79 partners to defeat the caliphate
of ISIS in Syria. We’ve convened more than 60 countries in
Warsaw earlier this year to brainstorm, to try and reduce risks to America that emanates
from the Middle East. We galvanized global support to denuclearize
North Korea. Just last week, Australia, Bahrain – and
there will be many more to follow – have joined us in ensuring that the waterways which
carry transit commercial products all across the world are free from Iranian aggression. (Applause.) Americanism means taking care of our own: We’ve stopped international courts – (applause)
– we stopped international courts from prosecuting our service members. We’ve brought – (applause) – it’s
a – it was an outrage. We’ve brought home dozens of Americans held
hostage overseas – more than any other administration in modern history – and without paying any
ransom. (Applause.) We’ve used diplomacy to guard our borders
from illegal immigration. (Applause.) And speaking of taking care of our own, that
includes those who gave all in combat as well. President Trump’s Singapore summit with
Chairman Kim produced the single largest return of service members’ remains from North Korea
in decades: 55 boxes of great Americans. (Applause.) Their families and their souls are now home
together. I know the significance of this to you. And the Trump administration is committed
to making sure that every last American soldier buried on Korean soil comes home and comes
home soon. (Applause.) Americanism in foreign policy means more than
that too. It means actions are shaped by pride in our
civilization. But as I said earlier, it also means an awareness
and frank assessment of our strategic goals, things we can do and things we ought not to
do. I want to talk about Afghanistan today for
just a moment. The truth is there are young adults entering
college just this week who weren’t even born when the United States starting fighting
in Afghanistan. It’s our longest war now: 18 years-plus. Our 18 years of military, diplomatic, and
economic engagement there helped transform Afghan society, and we crushed al-Qaida. (Applause.) And that was our mission. Our mission there was to defeat al-Qaida,
and that we shall do and that we shall continue to do. We’re proud of that record. But the truth is America has never sought
permanent military presence in Afghanistan, and all sides recognize that times move on. So for a year and continuing today, we continue
to work to clear-eyed engagement with all Afghans. We don’t know how these efforts towards
peace and reconciliation will end. But President Trump is committed to make sure
that we get it right. (Applause.) His clear guidance to me and to my military
colleagues is this: We want to get our folks home as fast and in as large numbers as we
can, and we want to make sure that never again is terror struck on the United States from
that soil. I believe we can and will accomplish both
of these, and we will honor your labors and your sacrifices in this fight. (Applause.) My wife Susan and I live not too far from
Arlington Cemetery. We will, from time to time, just kind of drop
everything and we’ll walk over there. We find ourselves drawn to Section 60, where
our heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest. Those brave souls gave all for you and for
me and for my family and for this country. They were the young ones who knew that Americanism
is good. So as I walk amongst those white rows at Arlington,
it’s always a reminder to me to put Americanism at the center of my mission at the United
States Department of State. If I can do that, I will honor their service
in the same way that you all honor their service by being here today. (Applause.) As I wrap up, I want to emphasize one more
thing: We need to keep telling people this story, this great story about Americanism. It’s something the whole world and every
American must be proud of. It’s special for so many reasons. One of them is the civic associations we form. One of them is the organization I’m here
today with. They’re vital organs of our institutional
body politic. And as I said at the beginning of my speech,
you all have spent a century volunteering your time, your effort, your money, for people
all across this great country. That – things like that don’t happen on
a wide scale in all of the countries that I visit. But you know too, as you see it, as you’re
out riding as members of the American Legion Riders or working at a charity event, there’s
still a lot left to do. There are too many households out there who
have no veterans in their family. They need to hear about this story too. Tell it. Keep doing this. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep helping each other through hard times. Keep supporting our veterans who come home
– helping them with their career, their family, their education or health needs, and
so much more in the ways that you always have, and I know you will. There is, as we say in Kansas, “no place
like home.” Help them make sure they return properly. (Applause.) I would encourage you, too, to continue supporting
all kinds of organizations, whether it’s the baseball leagues or motorcycle rides,
advocating for the proper care of the American flag, and everything else you do. And finally, and I suggested this early, every
society, especially ours, one with – filled with so much greatness, it needs heroes. Tell young people your stories, and the stories
of others who served alongside of you. Because the only way – the only way that
the next generation will be proud of Americanism is if we proudly teach it to them and we pass
it along. Thank you for what you do. May God bless the American Legion. May God bless all of our veterans. And may God bless these great United States
of America. Thank you all. (Applause.)

20 thoughts on “Secretary Pompeo remarks at the National Convention of the American Legion

  1. amรณ a los estados unidos de Amรฉrica ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ทโ™ฅ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ทโ™ฅ๏ธ๐Ÿ’Œ๐Ÿ’Œ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’โ™ฅ๏ธโ™ฅ๏ธ๐Ÿ’Œโ™ฅ๏ธ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

  2. GREATEST SoS in the modern history of our Republic!
    God bless you Michael.
    God Bless America!
    All my love to the American Legion, our soldiers, veterans and LEOs too! #KAG2020

  3. Pompeo is a war criminal and should be brought before the court the Hague for crimes against humanity for killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan whilst he was head of the CIA when Afghanistan citizens were being tortured by Americans, hang Pompeo for war crimes

  4. Thank you Secretary Pompeo for your fighting for Protecting of America founding Spirit and American Spirit and American Tradition !!
    America being forced by LGBT Q expansion policies of OBama was in Crisis in Obama – era

    God bless Secretary Pompeo!
    God bless America. One Nation Under God !

  5. I truly love this country. That's why hearing blow hards like this guy makes me sick. Americanism died after WWII because all of those Dem and repub politicians started to sell out and gave each and every one of us the middle finger while shoveling bullshit like this speach out so we could swell with pride while lapping it up. Fuck this guy and fuck the government. It's their fault the country is the way it is, not ours. You need to know what americanism Pompeo! Fuck you!

  6. Thank you sir for all you do for all you have done thank you sir for holding the torch of American Pride High thank you sir for speaking for those like me who are the silent majority of American Patriots made up of minorities in the minority of alpha male we do not Bend our knees to the weakness of the world that has become America a corruption and disdain For the Love of our country of the last 8 years ministration the horrible time filled with lies deceit treason and God's gift of man and wife. We were thrust into this liberalism demanding equality from homosexuality and that gender identity crap they are teaching our children thank you sir for saving our country from the garbage of the world please please in Jesus name bring these criminals to Justice we pray for you everyday for God is still in control of this world

  7. The Americans do not respect international law, or any law, they are a rogue state just like Israel, Pompeo is a war criminal and should be brought before the court the Hague for crimes against humanity for killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan whilst he was head of the CIA when Afghanistan citizens were being tortured by Americans, hang Pompeo for war crimes

  8. All in the platoon were idiot's, and still are, unfortunately, being American means murdering people from other nations, like the children in Yemen

  9. Why did the American Legion ban all survivors of Israel's murderous attack on the nearly defenseless USS Liberty – in which the Israelis killed 32 US sailors and wounded 173? Oh, and napalm was one of the weapons they chose to use on Americans.

  10. Taiwan and the South China Sea are US territories and are regulated by international law. The whole world knows, but the CCP is also stealing and stealing US territories. The CCP is a demon, asking the Lord to bless America.

  11. so when will you just go ahead and subpoena or take to some sort of federal court the offensive television corporation(s)?

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