Politicians love to cloak themselves in Patriotism, with one of their favorite ways of doing so post 9/11 being to show how much they “Support the Troops.” This year’s race for S. Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District is no different, with both candidates (and their supporters) trying to one-up each other with just how much a patriot they truly are.

No one is doubting the Patriotism of either candidate. Both men are veterans. Rob Miller is a combat veteran from Iraq, and Joe Wilson has four children who are currently serving in the military.  Both candidates sacrifices are significant and worthy of respect.

However, rather than be bombarded with “Support the Troops” rhetoric from each candidates camp until election day, I’d like to offer both campaigns with the opportunity to do something meaningful and provide some of the most severly wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan with Real Support right here in the 2nd District.

This October, The Independence Fund is bringing in well-known entertainer Gary Sinise and his Lt Dan Band to Beaufort to perform a free concert in honor of the military at Shrimp Festival. This will be Mr. Sinise’s (who has become this generation of warriors’ Bob Hope) first return to Beaufort since filming his memorable role of Lt Dan in the film Forrest Gump. The cost of flying in the Lt Dan Band is significant for our non-profit, but one our Board felt was well worth the expense.

In addition to Mr. Sinise and the Lt Dan Band, we have 100 severely wounded veterans and caregivers who wish to attend the four day event. Their cost is significant as well. We are currently doing everything we can to raise the necessary funding for this goal.

Some of you have may have seen the Parris Island Young Marines selling t-shirts and wrist bands at the 4th of July celebration. More recently, Congressman Wilson highlighted the efforts of Jack Carter, an 8yr. old resident of Beaufort County, on his campaign blog. Jack Carter raised $1500 for bringing in the troops for the event with a lemonade stand. But we still have a long way to go to meet the total goal.

With this in mind we have created a fun way in which the supporters of each 2nd District candidate can provide meaningful support for the troops and show how patriotic their political camp is in the process.  Simply visit the event website, (www.ltdanweekend.com) where you can make a donation in your candidate’s name. We have no paid staff, our Board is comprised entirely of combat veterans, and 100% the donations will be used to cover he travel, meals and lodging expenses of the wounded veterans and caregivers attending the Lt Dan Weekend.

Now that’s real support we think both candidates will gladly embrace.