- The Washington Times - Monday, July 18, 2016

CLEVELAND — Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell made an impassioned plea on behalf of veterans on Monday and gave thanks to the crowd at the Republican National Convention for “allowing” him to serve for 20 years.

“I think it’s important to say that we got to make sure that the hell the veterans return from is not the hell [they] come home to, OK?” said Mr. Luttrell. “That’s what was promised, and that’s what’s deserved.”

Mr. Luttrell is the author of the book “Lone Survivor,” which recounts his experience during a harrowing 2005 operation in Afghanistan.

“I had a chance to actually spend time with Mr. Trump, and I know he understands what it’s going to take to fix this,” Mr. Luttrell said of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

“Look, either way, the only way we survive this is together, not apart,” he said. “In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter - you understand?”

He also addressed the “next generation,” saying “your war is here.”

“Who among you will love something more than you love yourself, all right? Who among you are going to step up and take the fight to the enemy? Because it’s here,” he said.

“I challenge all of you to fight for this country,” he said. “The world outside of our borders is a dark place — a scary place. America is the light, and her people are the goodness that grows from that.”

“She’ll always be worth fighting for — it was my greatest honor to fight for her every day of my adult life,” he said.

“I just wanted to come up here and thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to serve you for 20 years, and I swear to God I’m going to spend the next 20 paying you back,” he said.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former 2016 GOP presidential candidate, introduced Mr. Luttrell, calling him “an American hero.”

“Tonight, our commitment is this: Making America great again starts by taking care of our veterans,” Mr. Perry said.

The theme for the opening night of the Republican National Convention is “Make America Safe Again,” with speeches touching on issues like national security and veterans.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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