- By Travis Detherage Nov 14, 2016
Damon Friedman told the crowd what it means to be a champion during the Terrell Independent School District’s Veterans Day ceremony last Friday morning at the TISD performing arts center.
Lt Col Friedman is a decorated combat veteran in the United States Air Force. He originally received his commission in 2000 as a United States Marine Corps Officer and later transferred into the Air Force Special Operations Forces elite as a Special Tactics Officer.
“We live in a country where there’s more division now than ever. We do such a great job tearing each other up. We’re like a bunch of lions in a den. We tear each other up and we don’t even think twice about it. We do a better job fighting ourselves than we do our enemy like the Taliban, Al-Queda and ISIS on a foreign soil,” Friedman said.
Friedman talked about the high level of divorces in American, school shootings, riots and violence in the street.
“Last time I checked, God loves everybody the same and it doesn’t mater if you’re black, white, purple, yellow or gray. God loves everybody the same,” Friedman said.
Friedman said he doesn’t know how the Unites States has digressed so far after having so many great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln.
“The war on equality is real and we have to fight for it because it’s the right thing to do,” Friedman said. “I’m trying to figure out how to define and talk to you about what being a champion is when you have all these real life struggles going on.”
Friedman said from the dictionary, champion is defined, as someone who has won a contest or competition especially in sports or a champion is someone who fights or speaks publicly in a support, believe or cause or one who battles for another person’s right or honor.
“Here’s the problem, if you were to ask me to write down what I thought a champion was before I opened the dictionary this is what I would have said ‘A champion is a warrior who is relentless and ferocious for a cause that’s not just worth living for but worth dying for. A champion is a warrior who keeps there eyes on the prize and doesn’t allow anything or anyone get in the way. A champion is a warrior who finishes what he or she started and does so with honor and integrity. A champion is a warrior who isn’t a quitter. A champion is a warrior who has honor, courage and commitment’,” Friedman said.
Friedman said America need more champions today, more than ever, to fight for the greatest cause in human history.
“That is the cause for freedom and liberation and my question is where are they?” Friedman said. “Where are the champions? I see politicians calling themselves champions and they make a lot of promises at the end but there’s no delivery. They use their power and influences, which leads to oppression. Some of them have such big mouths and the only thing they do is make things worse and it leads to division.”
Friedman talked about his rough upbringing that was caused by his abusive father and where he was raised dealing with low-income. His father told him that he would never amount to anything. His mother worked 18-hour days as a maid so that she could feed rice and beans to her children.
“You know what rice and beans represents to me? It represents strength, honor, courage and it represents commitment so today my favorite meal is rice and beans with chicken on the side,” Friedman said.
Friedman said he grew up trying to figure out how to be a champion because he couldn’t find it from his dad, so he decided to join the United States Marine Corps.
“I’m going to serve this country because this country served me,” Friedman said.
Friedman was a part of the 2003 United States liberation of Iraq. Friedman was on the front lines after going into Iraq from Kuwait.
“All Marines want to do is kill bad guys,” Friedman said. “We were racking the whole country side.”
Friedman then joined the Air Force Special Operation command as a Special Tactics Officer.
“Elijah from the old testament brought fire down from the sky,” Friedman said. “That’s what I do today and when we get into an enemy engagement, I bring fire down from the sky.”
Friedman still wondered at that point if he was finally a champion but his dad still didn’t think much of him. Then he realized that it was his father in heaven that made him a champion.
“Three things that make you a champion. 1. Honor, 2. Courage, 3. Commitment,” Friedman said. “When you put everything you have into something you’ll achieve greatness. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. You can be a champion.”