Rick Perry released a web video today thanking U.S. troops for their service and wishing the country a “Happy Thanksgiving.”
Called “Securing the American Dream (Marcus’ Story),” the video features Marcus Luttrell, an East Texas Navy SEAL who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, recounting his experience in the military. The nearly three-minute video then transitions to patriotic images, footage of Perry at events and audio of a speech in which Perry talks about the strength and promise of the military.
Text appears across the screen reading “Our mission is clear…our message is simple…to secure the future of the American dream…As Americans we have a lot to be thankful for, especially for our brave military men and women” before ending with “Happy Thanksgiving.”
Perry, who served in the U.S. Air Force for five years, shares a close relationship with Luttrell. In the video, Luttrell details their connection, saying he calls the Texas governor “for fatherly advice” and explains why he supports him as he runs for president.
“He’s one of the most honorable men I’ve ever met. You know, I don’t get into politics, you know. I’m a soldier. So with that being said, though, as far as character and honor and commitment and all those words that most people use for a punch line, he lives that stuff,” Luttrell says in the video. “It’s those characteristics in a man and especially in him that I think embody what the president of the United States should be.”
In an interview with Parade magazine last month, Perry described the family meeting he held before deciding to run for president. Luttrell and his wife were participants in the discussions, along with Perry’s wife, Anita, son Griffin and daughter Sydney.
“Seven of us sat down, and we had a conversation. Everybody gets a black bean. If there’s even one black bean, then the deal’s off,” Perry described in Parade magazine. “Marcus was very hesitant. He’s very protective of my wife. He really didn’t want to see the family go through what you go through in one of these efforts.”
In 2010, Luttrell started the Lone Survivor Foundation, a nonprofit group committed to helping wounded warriors and their families as they return from their service abroad. Perry spoke at the foundation’s second annual gala in September and discussed the need to commit resources to soldiers as they transition from their service on the battlefield to lives back home.
“Just as we owe them our very best when we send them to war we owe them our very best when they come home. For those returning home bearing scars some physical, others hidden we must devote whatever resources are necessary to help them heal and live fulfilling lives,” Perry said in the speech. “For all of them, we owe them our best efforts to help them find work connecting them with employers in need of their enhanced skills and exceptional leadership. These are our precious sons and daughters. They are our own flesh and blood. We must take care of them, every last one of them.”