My VIP for this week is Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw (Retired), congressman-elect from the 2nd Congressional District in Texas. He is a sixth generation Texan and originally from Houston. He is fluent in Spanish because he lived all over the world due to his father’s job in the oil and gas industry.
Crenshaw realized at a young age that he wanted to become a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL teams. He earned his naval officer commission through the Navy ROTC at Tufts University. He reported to SEAL training in Coronado, California, soon after he graduated in 2006 and met his wife, Tara, a few months later. He graduated from SEAL training and deployed to Fallujah, Iraq where he joined SEAL Team Three. This was his first deployment overseas out of five.
Six months into his third deployment in 2012, Crenshaw was hit by an IED blast in Helmand province in Afghanistan. He was evacuated and put into a medically induced coma. Upon awaking from the coma, Crenshaw learned that he had lost his right eye and his left eye was badly damaged. He was completely blind without much medical hope that he would ever see again. After several surgeries, a miracle happened, and Crenshaw regained sight in his left eye. He was deployed two more times, first to the Middle East in 2014 and then to South Korea in 2016 before leaving the military service.
After ten years in the SEAL Teams, Crenshaw received a medical retirement in September 2016 with “two Bronze Stars (one with Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor – plus other recognitions. He continued his education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he completed his Master in Public Administration.
Crenshaw volunteered for many days in the area of Katy, Texas, that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. He witnessed the great losses of Texans but also saw their strengths. He wanted to do more to help his fellow-Texans, and Dan and Tara decided that he could serve best by being elected to a political office.
Dan can no longer fight on the battlefield, but he can bring the integrity, leadership, vision, and tenacity learned in the SEAL teams to fight in Congress for common sense policies that ensure our nation’s prosperity and security, represent our Judeo-Christian values, and again give Texans a reason to be proud of their leaders.
A week ago Saturday Crenshaw was mocked for the loss of his eye by Pete Davidson on “Saturday Night Live.” Davidson was roundly trounced by people on both the left and the right for his rudeness to a national hero. Last Saturday Crenshaw appeared on “Saturday Night Live” where Davidson publicly apologized to him. “The man is a war hero and deserves all the respect in the world.” Crenshaw accepted the apology and shared some of the lessons that Americans can learn from the incident.
There [are] a lot of lessons to learn here, not just that the left and right can still agree on some things.
But also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other. …
When you say “never forget” to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them – not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans who will never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present.
Crenshaw reminded Americans that there are other heroes who should be included, such as first responders who sacrificed their lives on 9/11. All the men and women who stand between Americans and danger deserve to be remembered every day. The best way to show veterans that we support them is to let them know that we will “never forget” their service and sacrifices.