I am writing to you at a time of urgent need for action. Last week, a great supporter of Vets for Freedom, John Ellsworth—the Chairman of Families United—spoke out on behalf of the family of fallen hero Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder and met with a disturbing response. The Snyder’s, as you may know, have been ordered to pay the legal expenses for the extreme hate group from Westboro Baptist Church and the ACLU, after they protested at Matthew’s funeral with signs reading, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”
In a CNN Editorial, John Ellsworth wrote about this egregious misuse of the legal system and, in short order, heard from the attorney for the group. John is a good friend of mine and knows a little something about service and sacrifice. He serves our communities every day as a police officer and his son, Lance Cpl Justin Ellsworth, US Marine Corps, was killed in Fallujah in 2004. Here is just a sample of the repugnant comments the Westboro attorney sent back to John:
**WARNING—This letter contains some disturbing, offensive content.**
From the letter of the protestor’s attorney:
"You disgrace the memory of the dead soldiers. If there is a whisper of truth to the notion that they died for our right to speak, SHUT UP AND LET US SPEAK."
“What right do you think you have to try to stop the Church from saying ‘Thank God for dead soldiers’? Don’t pretend this is about a funeral being private. You know these funerals are giant noisy splashy political military pep rallies, with bikers, citizens, politicians, media, and military piled up with flags and mouths wagging. Just shut up with that lie.”
“The SCOTUS is going to uphold the law. You’ll rant, rave, scream, and cry all the way to the end of that journey. When they issue their opinion, this nation will go into a rage, because of drum-beating-cowards like you. You mislead them just like you misled your child.”
Read the entire letter on Families United’s website, here.
As a veteran of the Iraq war, I knew the enemy when I saw them. And let’s just say that groups like those at the Westboro Baptist Church are not friends of our troops.
John Ellsworth and other Gold Star families founded Families United specifically for the purpose of protecting military families from people like this. As veterans and supporters of our military, we need to stand alongside these fathers whose children made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.
I have personally given a contribution of $50 today to Families United. Please join me by making a similar gift to support John’s organization as they work to honor, not disgrace, the sacrifices of our nation’s warfighters. Thank you.
Move out and draw fire-
Executive Director, Vets for Freedom