A White House petition was launched the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration to “reinstate Lt. Col. Terry Lakin into the U.S. Army with full rank, pay, benefits and pension immediately.”

“Court-martialed, imprisoned, expelled from the Army and denied pay, pension and benefits,” declares the petition accurately, “Terry was merely following his officer’s oath and constitutional duty.”

For the record, Lakin spent five months in prison at Fort Leavenworth before his release in May of 2011. Lakin’s crime – his real crime, that is – was to challenge Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to be president.

I believe it was his pending release as much as Trump’s raising of the eligibility issue that forced Obama to produce something resembling a birth certificate.

Lakin never claimed to know where President Obama was born or whether he was eligible. The problem, as Lakin saw it, was that no one knew.

As an Army officer, one sworn “to support and defend the Constitution,” he felt an obligation to pursue the truth.

I got to know Terry through helping him with his memoir, “Officer’s Oath.” If the U.S. Army has a more decent or dedicated officer than this 17-year veteran flight surgeon and father of three, I have yet to meet that person.

For more than a year, Lakin plied all regular channels to get at the facts. He had no intention of becoming a martyr to the cause, but in 2010 he received deployment orders to Afghanistan. Said the order: “Bring five (5) copies of your birth certificate.”

For Lakin, that did it. If he had to produce a birth certificate to deploy, Obama needed one to send him.

By refusing deployment – he had already served in Afghanistan and Bosnia – Lakin hoped to take advantage of military due process to resolve the eligibility question.

He did not succeed. The media brought no pressure to bear on his behalf. To the degree the media noticed, they ridiculed him. Our progressive friends had finally found a military protester they could not embrace.

Of all his hardship deployments, Bosnia included, Lakin’s exile to Leavenworth was easily the hardest.

After he bid a tearful farewell to his wife and three young children, his military minders chained his hands together and attached those chains to a band around his waist.

They chained his legs and attached those, too. They then loaded him into a van and drove him to Reagan National.

There, Lakin endured his ultimate humiliation, a seemingly endless perp walk, a shuffle really, through a concourse filled with flags and patriotic bunting and the happy sight of returning soldiers.

None of the display had lost its appeal, but Lakin could not overlook the irony of his being chained and bound amidst it all.

Thanks to a deepening Christian faith and an abiding love for his country, Lakin manfully survived the ordeal and emerged a stronger person for it.

That he gave up $2 million in benefits and left his lovely family behind for prison should have further endeared him to our generally weepy progressive friends, but, of course, it did no such thing.

In 2011, when Lakin was released, they had a president to elect. All justice, all sympathy, all honesty be damned.

Upon his release, Lakin applied for a license to practice medicine in Kansas, but the Kansas Board of Healing Arts turned him down.

The Kansas Board may have indulged outlaw abortionist George Tiller for 30 years, but this timid crew was unnerved by the thought of this veteran flight surgeon practicing medicine in this doctor-short state, impeccable record notwithstanding.

For the last five years, Lakin has been serving as an ER doctor in Colorado. He has no regrets for the action he took, but his supporters, myself included, are eager to see justice done on his behalf.

To sign the petition to reinstate Lt. Col. Terry Lakin into the U.S. Army with full rank, pay, benefits and pension immediately, please click here.

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