Press and Public Converge at CCU to Hear from Sarah Palin

  • Sarah Palin at CCU's Tribute to the Troops
Less than 24 hours after the world learned of Osama bin Laden's death, nearly every major media outlet in Colorado, and an estimated crowd of 1,300, flocked to Colorado Christian University's campus to find out what Sarah Palin had to say about it.

The event, entitled Tribute to the Troops, was a vast undertaking for the small school and may have been the largest, most successful, and most reported-on public event in CCU history. The crowd from across Colorado filled the venue, with coverage broadcast outside to an additional 300 guests. Proceeds from ticket sales and a celebrity auction, totaling nearly $40,000, were donated entirely to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), an organization that provides comprehensive care for families of fallen soldiers.

CCU created Tribute to the Troops to pay homage to U.S. military members and veterans, and through it had the honor of hosting the former Alaska governor along with William Boykin -- the retired lieutenant general who served as U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and helped found the legendary Delta Force.

The timing of the event was an unexpected surprise, given the killing of the world's most-wanted man by U.S. Special Forces. But of equal note were Palin's remarks to the crowd: Perhaps more fully than ever before, she used the occasion to lay out her thoughts on appropriate use of U.S. military power, including a five-point outline that may come to be known as the Palin Doctrine if she remains active in national politics. Her words weighted the seriousness of the moment -- a patriotic celebration, yet also a time to think hard about America's role in the world.

"We felt highly honored to be the setting for a tribute to America's armed forces just when a great victory against Islamist terrorism has been won," said John Andrews, event host and director of CCU's Centennial Institute, a public-policy think tank.

Palin praised U.S. military, intelligence, and government personnel for arduously laying the groundwork and bringing bin Laden to justice. She also credited CCU for being spot-on in its Strategic Objectives, a University-wide set of educational values that addresses issues like sanctity of life, biblical view of human nature, limited government, and personal and economic freedom.

For many, key highlights of Tribute to the Troops also included interacting with veterans, local military members, ROTC cadets, and watching a live video chat with 2010 CCU alumna Amy Justice, now serving as an Army staff sergeant in Kuwait.

"There was great satisfaction in seeing the entire CCU community rally to pull this off," Andrews added. "It was a milestone in the maturing of Colorado Christian University as an influential center of learning and thought."

See video of Palin's speech at the Tribute to the Troops website.

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