John 15:12-14 New International Version (NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends
On Memorial Day we honor those who have made the supreme sacrifice protecting the United States. While we honor those who died in combat, let’s not forget those who died in a different theater, the battlefield of home. According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, in 2016, 6079 veterans committed suicide. The reasons why the suicide rate among Veterans is so much higher than the national average are complex. PTSD, the stress of transitioning from combat to civilian life, opioid addiction, and isolation are some of the issues the VA is addressing, but much more needs to be done to identify at risk veterans and insure they have access to the care they need. There is one area that I feel is overlooked and needs to be addressed. That is the kind of society our Veterans are coming home to.
The military send troops all over the world to stop the spread of tyranny where it lives, to keep it from our shores. After sacrificing precious time away from their families, and sometimes health and limbs, our heroes come home to a nation which has lost its moral compass. The evils they were sent to fight, Communism, tyrannical dictatorships, radical Islam, are not only accepted, but openly embraced by academia, journalists, the entertainment industry, and even some of those elected to Congress. Is it any wonder that returning Veterans feel hopeless and despondent? While the ubiquitous “thank you for your service” and “we support our troops” are everywhere, and it’s nice to be appreciated, these platitudes seem hollow when uttered by a people who have no real understanding of the ideals our Veterans were sent to defend.
Academia dishonors the fallen when it teaches revisionist history instead of the true intent of our founders. Journalists dishonor the fallen when they paint a one-sided anti-American version of events. The entertainment industry dishonors the fallen when it works to shape society by promoting a Leftist agenda, leaving the other side without a voice. We dishonor the fallen when we accept a globalist world view that denigrates American Exceptionalism. We fail to educate ourselves and our children about the Constitution, and the proper role of government, and then we elect representatives and leaders who merely say what we want to hear.
The day we can truly honor the fallen, is not the last Monday in May, it is that Tuesday in November when we can choose to elect representatives who understand our Founding Documents, will uphold the Constitution, and will champion individual liberty over the will of the masses and their own desire for power. Those brave heroes who died battling the horrors of war, overseas and at home, they did their duty, now it’s time we did ours.
This Memorial Day amid all the boat filled lakes, bikini filled beaches and back yard barbecues, many of us will take the time to stop and reflect on what this day is really about. We’ll pause and remember the courage and sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price to preserve the rights and liberty this country enjoys. Rights it seems, that many in this country are willing to just throw away.
We like to plaster bumper stickers on our cars, and sport t-shirts proclaiming, “Support our Troops”. But are we making a real effort to support them? The VA hospital scandal, and the whittling away of our Veterans benefits are truly appalling. However, there is another way that many Americans have dishonored our Vets that maybe we have never considered.
When men and women join the military they take an oath. Not an oath to protect our government, an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of the United States of America. When we treat The Constitution as a “living” document, to be interpreted at whim, we reject the spirit of that oath. When we elect to office, people of questionable integrity, people who care more about their own power and glory than serving their constituents, we tell our Warriors that we do not care about the document they are sworn to defend. When, either through ignorance or indifference we elect government officials whose goal it is to turn our Capitalist, Republic into a Socialist Commune, we tell our military members that their sacrifices were in vain.
As citizens of this country, we all have an obligation to learn about our history, our Founders, and our Founding Documents. We have a responsibly to make wise and informed choices when we vote. And we have a sacred duty to only put into office those individuals who will truly “uphold and defend” The Constitution of the United States of America. To do less is to make the deaths of our bravest, and brightest meaningless.
From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.
Consider this quote from Karl Marx for a moment. Imagine a society where you are free to pursue your passions. Do you like to write poetry? Fine you can spend all day writing poetry without worring where your next meal is coming from. Have you always dreamed of healing the sick? You can go to medical school without worrying about crushing debt. Enjoy music? Sit on the corner and play your guitar all day then go home to a mortgage-free house. Have a talent for fixing cars? Open up your own garage and don’t worry about overhead costs. To the Socialist Progressive, this is the goal. A moneyless society where everything belongs to everyone and the abilities balance out the needs. A place where, without the encumbrance of providing for our basic necessities, there will be enough people who are smart enough to become doctors, engineers and scientists, enough people know how to grow crops, make clothes, and build houses, enough people who enjoy flipping burgers, picking up trash and scrubbing toilets, to balance out those who don’t. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? No one has less than anyone else. Everyone is a Prole. But…….. No one can ever have more. No matter how hard you work, how much you apply yourself, you will never have any more than the slackerd who donates his time and nothing more to the collective.
It is man’s basic human nature to desire a reward for his hard work and ingenuity. To take pride in caring for the things he owns. When these feelings are suppressed and made out to be evil, gone is the incentive to build, create, improve. It is basic human nature that the Socialist Progressive ignores. Most people will not willingly hand over rightfully owned property. We are not meant to merely survive and when reduced to that existence we will cease to produce. The idea of a self-perpetuating Communist utopia is a lie. In order for there to be enough makers to feed the takers, someone must be in charge. Someone who maintains the balance of farmers, factory workers, skilled labor, and entertainers. The promise of pursued passions is replaced by assigned careers, and forced labor camps. The Communist goal of freeing people from the slavery of the factory owner, replaced by slavery to the government. This is the great irony of the Socialist Progressive movement. You do not need to look any farther than our recent past, to Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China, and North Korea, to find evidence that this is so.
The United States was never meant to be a place where we are controlled by the government. Every Article, Section, and word of the Constitution and Bill of rights, were carefully drafted to protect the rights of the people to control their own destinies, own property, and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Read the Bill of Rights. Then realize that every one of those freedoms were paid for with blood. The heros of the Revolutionary war understood the kind of life they would lead if ruled by a tyrannical government, and they were willing to die to prevent that from happening. From that time on, our American military has fought time and again to stop the spread of tyranny thoughout the world. From freeing slaves, stopping the spread of Communism, to keeping Islamic terrorism from our shores.
We don’t like war. The whole idea is abhorrent to us, and it should be. But consider this quote from George Orwell,
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
The phrase “Freedom isn’t free” is not just a tired cliche’. It is the truth. Men and women have died defending the ideals of our Constitution. As we go about our business and barbecues this weekend, take a few minutes to think about how we as a nation have honored their sacrifice. We have elected to office men and women who seek only to increase their own power, whose idea of a perfect America is closer to that of Marx than that of Jefferson. We have allowed our own government to attempt to disarm us, and to use its power to intimidate and silence us.
We should honor our fallen veterans by demanding our government be accountable to us. To demand that our government uses our taxes funds wisely, and respects our individual freedoms. We have a responsibility as citizens to be informed, to show up and vote, and vote wisely. It is not too late to take our government back. Don’t let our heros’ deaths be in vain.
A few months ago, my niece who lives some distance away, sent me a message with the following question.
Was it hard being an air force wife? My boyfriend is starting to get ready for talking to recruiters and I just wanted to know if he were to get in and one day we got married how hard would it be to be an air force wife?
I spent fifteen years as a “dependent wife”. This was a term I always despised so I came up with a better title: Military Household Management Specialist. During this time, I have to say that I met some of the most, immature, self-absorbed, and incompetent women on the face of the earth. Every deployment, every inconvenience was met with petulant whining and clever manipulation. Deprived of their husbands, they expected the First Sergeants to find suitable substitutes for grass mowing, snow shoveling, car repairs, even light bulb changing and taking out the garbage. And when the nights got too long and too cold, they found comfort in the arms of other men. I had no respect for such women, and fortunately they were rare. More often, I met women who were the epitome of grace, dignity, patriotism, and pride. These strong and self-sufficient women became my role models. They endured much. Multiple births, major surgeries, cancer treatments, the deaths of loved ones. All these born alone with husband and family members thousands of miles away. Military wives help each other through these hardships and form lifelong bonds that transcend time and distance. If the dreaded official car stops in front of your house, they are the ones who hold you up. At the same time knowing, “there but for the grace of God”. These are the women who inspired me. They also humbled me. For I was blessed. Even though there were plenty of headaches, and hardships, missed anniversaries, Christmases and birthdays, my husband was there for the births of his children, and retired from service healthy and whole. Friday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day. In honor of those who are still living the life, and those who are contemplating it, here, at the suggestion of my niece, is the answer I gave to her question.
There’s no easy one-size fits all answer to that question. I can tell you that being in the military is a hard life for families, but it can be a good and rewarding life if you have the right attitude. You have to understand that in the military the mission ALWAYS comes first. We were taught that in a Christian marriage, you put the needs of your spouse first, but it cannot be that way in a military marriage, you have to accept that you will be second, not because he wants it that way, but because it has to be that way. He might not get to be there for the birth of his children. He will miss birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmases and it will be as hard on you as it will be for him. You will move often and you will be thousands of miles away from your family and friends back home. You will be lonely and your non-military friends will not be able to relate to the life you now lead. You will need to be self-sufficient. You will have to mow grass, change light bulbs, take out the trash, and kill spiders for yourself. While your husband is deployed you will need to take responsibility for running the household. You will need to know how to pay bills, file taxes, and balance the checkbook. You will need to be trustworthy, because he will have to leave you his power of attorney, giving you the ability to handle any personal legal business for him. This will also give you the power to ruin him financially, so you have to be a woman of character. You will have to ask yourself, if you would be able to accept that he might have to kill someone in the line of duty. Would knowing that he did, change how you feel about him? You have to prepare yourself mentally for the possibility that he might be killed, but not to constantly dwell on that or you will drive yourself crazy. You will also have to teach your children how to deal with this as well. But to tell you the truth, it is worth it. You will be an important part of the support system that enables military men and women to do their jobs and get home safely. With the grace of God, you will grow and mature in ways you can’t even imagine now. You will be able to handle crisis and hardships that you never thought you could. You will get to go places and see things that you might never have the opportunity to if you weren’t a military spouse. You get to buy groceries at the commissary and shop at the BX and save a lot of money by doing so. You get military discounts at lots of stores. You will gain the support and friendship of other military spouses. Most importantly, you get to be proud to be married to a man who is fighting to bring liberty and freedom to the world. You get to carry with you the satisfaction of knowing that the sacrifices you make, help to secure the peace of the only nation on earth that recognizes that our rights are granted by God and not government. The most important thing you can do, is to be honest with your boyfriend about how you feel about being a military spouse. Share with him your fears and feelings now, before he signs up. If you get married, it won’t be just him serving; it will be the both of you and your children as well. This is a decision you should make together.
(Parts of this are reposted from an earlier post entitled “No Guts No Glory”.)
This Monday we will see billboards, bumper stickers, and car magnets all proclaiming “Support our Troops“, and “Freedom Isn’t Free”. Are these truly heart-felt words, displayed by proud patriots or are they meaningless platitudes, mindlessly quoted by pandering politicians? On this day there will be countless memorial services and tributes. But will we stop a moment and reflect on what this day really means or is it simply the beginning of summer? Just a day to have a picnic or barbecue.
I remember as a child hearing the stories of my mother, who, as a toddler underwent surgery on her foot. For years afterward she required special orthotic shoes that had to be replaced every time her foot grew. This was during WWII and rationing was in full force. Everyone was allowed only one pair of shoes a year. Including my mother. The government didn’t make a special exception because she was a child with a medical condition. Her parents didn’t demand that she was entitled to more ration coupons because of a unique hardship. Instead they gave up their ration coupons to get her the shoes she needed and when those ran out other family members, friends and neighbors donated theirs. Why was this necessary? Because the materials that were used to make shoes over here were needed to make shoes for the troops over there. Could you imagine giving up coffee, sugar, shoes and tires and sending them to the troops in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq? Could we ever again unite as a whole country behind an effort to rid our world of an unspeakable evil? Do we even know what evil is anymore?
The invention of photography as allowed us to see the horrors of war up close and personal. The flag draped coffins of our loved ones, the bloody, mangled bodies of our enemies, the atrocities. Faced with the horrifying reality that the price of freedom is blood, many of us have decided that the price is too high. We believe that the act of war, rather than the megalomaniacal ideals of ruthless men is the true evil and that nothing save our own personal survival is worth fighting and dying for.
The men who marched at Lexington and Concord, whose bodies covered the ground at Gettysburg, who raised the flag at Mount Suribachi, all understood the power of the words of our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution. That such a radical ideal as individual freedom, that men should control their own destinies, requires a collective sacrifice.
By looking to the government for our prosperity rather that demanding that our elected officials recognize the freedom to build that prosperity ourselves, by allowing the government the rights to our personal property, and by allowing the government to usurp and mismanaged our wages though an unnecessarily complicated tax code, we dishonor those who have fought and died to maintain those freedoms.
By allowing our schools to indoctrinate our children with the mantra that it is the government’s job to take care of us, to protect us from our own ignorance and folly, and that “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” is the highest morality, we dishonor those who fought and died for our right to think for ourselves.
Our Forefathers wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not to give us certain rights, but to preserve them. The government does not grant us our freedoms, rather we “the people” grant the government its right to exist. It’s time for us to “take back” our government and hold our elected officials accountable, for what they do with the money, property, time and power we “the people” give them.
In every election we have the opportunity to show that we truly understand the cost of our freedom and that it is precious. By taking the time and making the effort to research and vote for people truly worthy to serve us, and by reminding them regularly that they do, is how we prove that those who made the “ultimate sacrifice” did not do so in vain.