In September, I had a post on Big Hollywood that looked at the Discovery Channel’s top-rated “Sons of Guns” television program. The show, which airs at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday nights, features the owner of Red Jacket Firearms, Will Hayden. “Guns” is a non-stop pro-America, pro-gun, pro-U.S. military extravaganza.
Regardless of the weapon they’re building on a particular episode, Hayden is always the same: he’s in charge, he’s in love with his family and his country, and he’s bound and determined to pay homage to the “our boys” fighting overseas.
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His love for the military was front and center when he and I spoke recently:
AWR: As I’ve watched “Sons of Guns,” the episode that really sticks with me is the one where you hosted the World War II veterans. What was it like to be around them and to spend time with them on that particular show?
Will: Have you ever read a book that gives an account of an incredible action or deed, be it in battle or civilian life, and it just really moves you, and you catch yourself trying to imagine the kind of men who were capable of such things?
Will: Okay. Well, when those veterans visited I knew I was sitting there having coffee with the men who are capable of such things. I was with the men we often read about: I was with heroes.
It’s humbling. You are looking those men in the eyes and talking to them, and they are the men who have done the deeds of which poems are made. It’s an incredible thing.
AWR: Will, when I’ve talked to veterans like that, and thanked them for the things they did, to a man they’ve all responded by saying, “I didn’t do anything special, I just did my duty.” Did you have a similar experience with the gentlemen who visited your show?
Will: It’s kind of like when you talk amongst Marines. Most of that stuff you don’t really get into because, if they did it they’ll never talk about it beyond where they were and when they were there and maybe some good friends that they had there. It’s a different language, a different world.
You can look at any one of those men and you see what he’s wearing on his chest, or you see the limp and the scars that he’s carrying on his body, and I’d be the last man to ask for the details. I imagine it wasn’t a whole lot of fun in the doing, so I can’t see how he’d gain anything in the retelling.
AWR: Does your love for the military come from the fact that you were a Marine?
Will: No, not really. My love, my appreciation, my respect, my undying gratitude for the men who wear the uniform and serve this country to defend it comes from the fact that my daughters have been able to get up every day and go to school and go to their job without ever once having to worry about some son of a bitch shooting at them or trying to blow them up. I can walk out the door and pretty much say anything I want to. I can get in my car and I can drive across fifteen states on a whim without telling anybody or asking anybody’s permission.
This is all because of the men that put on the uniform with the willingness to kill and die so me and my children can have the ability to do those things.
We created two incredible documents a long time ago, with that Declaration of Independence and that Constitution. But to me, those are like building a fence. You can build a fence a mile high and it doesn’t mean anything unless you’ve got a man willing to lay down his life to guard it. And that’s what these men in uniform are doing, and that’s what they’ve been doing.
AWR: What is your most memorable moment in which you did something with/for a member of the military?
Will: These guys are over there in Iraq or Afghanistan for a year to a year and a half at a time, and we’d always been a custom–make it to order–kind of shop. That was our main focus. And getting up at 3 in the morning to take a call from one of our boys who’s sitting in a sand hole over there, so he can go over what he wants waiting for him when he gets back home, is pretty much the top of the list for me.
And I’ve got a rifle over here by me that a guy had ordered while he was over there…(long pause)…and he never came back. I just keep it around and remember what they’re really doing and the price that they’re paying over there.
AWR: Will, your passion for the military is incredible: God bless you for that passion and that appreciation. Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers concerning the troops before our time together is over?
Will: When you think about a Soldier, a Marine, a Sailor, an Airman, what you’re really thinking about is a man or a woman who willingly walks forward everyday knowing that they’re available to be their nation’s sacrifice on this altar of freedom that most of us don’t even think about. And if you can realize that, and continue to think that half-pay and “thank you” or “good-bye, we’re done with you now,” is even in the realm of enough, I really hope I never meet you.
As Christmas draws near, I hope we’ll all share Will Hayden’s forthrightness, and thank a Solder, a Marine, a Sailor, or an Airman for the price they paid–and continue to pay–to keep us free.
God bless our military, and God bless “Sons of Guns.”