Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Tuesday night during President Trump’s first joint address to Congress, there was one particular moment which will be remembered for a long time. Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was a member of the Navy SEALs who selflessly lost his life during a raid in Yemen on January 29 . Trump gave a tribute to the fallen SEAL during his speech stating, “Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy. Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity.”

Ryan’s wife, Carryn Owens, was invited to watch President Trump’s speech from the First Lady’s box and was seated next to the president’s daughter, Ivanka. While President Trump spoke highly of our nation’s military and of Owen’s service to our country by paying the ultimate sacrifice, emotions filled the entire room. For more than two minutes, the audience provided the recently widowed mother of three with a thunderous standing ovation. With tears streaming down her face, Mrs. Owens stood, casted her eyes upward, held her hands in the position of prayer and seemingly spoke private words to her late husband.

Throughout President Trump’s speech, the widowed Navy wife was the image of bravery and courage represented in our nation’s military. Unfortunately, her husband and thousands of other men and women in our military have paid the ultimate price with their lives. The fact that some individuals in our country have the audacity to mock this unfortunate widow is sickening. According to Fox News, one critic, Dan Grilo, stated on Twitter, “Sorry Owen’s wife, you are not helping yourself or your husband’s memory by standing there and clapping like an idiot. Trump just used you.” Grilo, who claimed to be a volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, quickly deleted his account, and rightfully so, lost his job.

I find it extremely frustrating that certain individuals and government officials believe the sole reason President Trump invited Mrs. Owens to his address was to make himself look good in the public eye. Putting aside all the political differences, President Trump allotted a decent amount of time dedicated to our soldiers and recognizing the sacrifices not only our troops make, but military families as well, to keeping our nation free. According to the Military Times, the raid in Yemen was not only highly successfully in seizing critical intelligence, but an estimated 14 al-Qaida terrorists were killed. For those individuals ridiculing President Trump for invading Mrs. Owens privacy, she gave the President permission to speak of her late husband in his speech. The day after her husband was killed, the President called Mrs. Owens to express his condolences, invited her and her three children to visit him at the White House, and explained how he would love to have her as a guest during his first speech to Congress. According to the Washington Post, “Our goal was to make sure that we respected her wishes and her privacy. Even with referencing her in the speech, that was her decision. We told her, “The President would like to raise this,” and she said, “I’d like that.” When Ryan Owens’ flag-draped casket was flown back to the U.S., President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, visited Dover Air Force Base to pay their respects as his body was carried off the military jet.

When I was watching Mrs. Owens’ reaction live, I felt almost a connection to her emotions and heartbreak. I am not a military widow, but I have numerous friends and family members who are in the military. My dad was in the military for many years and he deployed for almost eight months overseas in a war-torn area. The feeling of not knowing what is happening to a loved one in an extremely dangerous area across the world is indescribable. Not knowing when the next Skype call is going to come, and if the internet connection is strong, you may see a glimpse of your loved one’s face. This is the life of a military family, and although it may never become easy, it is a part of being a family member to someone wearing the uniform.

The reason I wrote this article was not to spark controversy with the differing political parties and how the sides differ, but to bring awareness to the sacrifice our military and their loved ones make every day in our country. The saying “All gave some, some gave all” pertains to all members of the military, both past and present. Some service men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Others are still living their lives, but in a different way because of their dedication to our country. The next time you see a man or woman wearing our nation’s uniform, please shake their hand or give them a friendly hug and thank them for their service to our country. A simple act of kindness can go a long way, especially when directed toward individuals who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Photo: 1

Laura is a Senior at the University of Maine studying Elementary Education with a concentration in Child Development. She is a member and the Vice President of Kappa Delta Pi; which is an international honor society for individuals majoring in education. Laura loves to dedicate her time outdoors, volunteering at the Bangor Humane Society, and values spending quality time with her family.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️