You pulled me from speaking to veterans for being conservative and christian. This is war.
I’ve seen it happen all across America – conservatives having speaking engagements cancelled at schools because … words.
But I never thought it would happen to me. Especially not at a speaking engagement honoring fallen veterans. And ESPECIALLY not at the high school I graduated from.
I didn’t ask for this fight. But if you’re going to punch someone in the face … make sure to do it hard enough to knock them out. Because now I’m in the fight … and so is America. Enough is enough.
Here’s the backstory. The VFW in Southwick, Massachusetts asked me to be the Master of Ceremonies and Keynote Speaker at a commemoration ceremony dedicating the new foyer of the high school to three veterans who died in service to our country.
I graciously and humbly accepted the invite. I’m not a veteran. I’m not a hero. I’m simply a patriot who puts God and patriotism before my own company.
I waived my speaking fees. I volunteered the services of the marketing agency I own to help create the presentations honoring the veterans and to promote and film the entire event.
So imagine my surprise when my invitation was pulled … not by the VFW, but by the superintendent of the school district.
Here’s how that went down.
Me: “Hi – this is Kyle.”
Troy: “Hey man… it’s Troy from the VFW. Listen, brother – I don’t know how to tell you this. But the superintendent isn’t letting us have you at our event.”
Me: “I’m sorry – what? Why?”
Troy: “Because you’re a conservative and because students wouldn’t feel safe around you.”
Me (laughing): “Are you serious?”
Troy: “I’m so sorry, brother. There was nothing we could do. They didn’t give us a choice. We pushed back hard. They said if you want to attend – we could put together a meet and greet after school hours for the community to come back and see you.”
Me: “Tell her that I appreciate the offer, but I don’t do participation trophies.”
Troy: “I don’t blame you. We thought it was ridiculous. So here’s what we’d like to do. We stand behind you 100% and would invite you to instead be the keynote speaker at our pre-dedication dinner on May 12th.”
Me: “I’m in. ‘merica.”
You read it right. Students wouldn’t feel safe around me.
Someone should have told that to the school district in Utah that, just last month, flew me across the country and compensated me handsomely to speak in front of 2,000 students about hope and suicide prevention.
Someone needs to let the law enforcement community know what a terrible person I am. Apparently they missed that when I was selected as the national spokesman for Law Enforcement Today, one of the largest online communities of emergency responders.
Someone should warn the students of Southwick High School that are applying for the two scholarships my agency offers to graduating seniors.
Someone should tell the private schools that have contacted my agency to handle their marketing about what a threat I am to students.
While they are at it, they need to reach out to the teachers throughout Connecticut that regularly bring me in to work with their aspiring student entrepreneurs.
We’re now 160 episodes into Behind the Uniforms, a series featuring veterans and emergency responders. Someone should call up those wounded warriors and their families that we’ve flown in on our dime from across the country and let them know they’ve all been duped.
Do you see what’s happening across our country? Does it need to be thrown in your face any more by the left?
My invitation to honor fallen warriors was pulled because of my beliefs … that had nothing to do with this ceremony.
They want to hear what you say and ensure you have your freedom of speech … as long as it’s speech they want to hear and from someone they politically agree with.
There was nothing political about my speaking engagement. Am I a proud conservative Christian? Absolutely. But that has nothing to do with my speech. I was there to pay tribute to three veterans and their families who didn’t fight for a party … they fought for a country.
On 9/11, I sat in history class at Southwick Tolland Regional High School and watched the Twin Towers fall. It changed the course of my life and that of so many other lives. Was I about to join the military? Absolutely not. I was 327 lbs. and had about as much courage as the morning donuts I ate.
But a few months later, in that high school, I ran a commemoration ceremony, honoring every member of the police, fire and emergency management departments. I then went on to spend the next ten years working in journalism to try and cover the positive stories in America.
My brother serves our country and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Many of my family members serve in law enforcement and the military. So many of my friends went on to serve after 9/11. All gave some and some gave all. This day was to honor them.
It was to pay tribute to their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families. It was to recognize three men that gave their lives. It was to honor those who survived, but came home without limbs and with so many scars we’ll never be able to see. It was to recognize the countless men and women who survived battles with the enemy overseas … only to lose the war with post traumatic stress in their own living rooms when they came home.
The irony, of course, is that an event that was never meant to be political was turned into a controversy by the very superintendent now disrespecting the sacrifices of our soldiers by fighting AGAINST voices that she doesn’t personally agree with.
Apparently she’s backed by a number of members of the faculty who insist we need to protect students who wouldn’t feel “safe” seeing a conservative.
I’m struggling to understand why the safe space needs of a tiny minority now outweigh offering an incredible opportunity to the vast majority of students.
I prayed on whether to take on this fight. After all, this event was never about me. To everyone saying they are going to boycott the event, I insist that they do NOT. This is about a tribute to veterans and their families.
That said … I don’t have a choice. I need to fight. Not for me … but for those who have sacrificed so that we can have freedoms here in America. I will gladly accept this fight to honor those men and women.
The superintendent of this school district and every member of the faculty who support her decision should immediately resign. Their personal feelings and bias clearly prevent them from what’s doing in the best interest of the students.
They are no longer educators … they are indoctrinators. They are a domestic threat right here in America and I don’t care if you’re on the left or on the right … it’s safe to say that teachers should be TEACHING … not forcing their own beliefs into the minds of our children.
It’s time for Americans to declare enough is enough. It’s time for patriots to rise. It’s time to protect our children and take back our country.
After all, don’t we owe it to our veterans to defend that which they fought for?
Kyle S. Reyes is the Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing, the National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today and creator of Behind the Uniforms and The Whiskey Patriots. Reyes is also an acclaimed keynote speaker on patriotism and leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing by storytelling. You can follow him on Facebook.