Our military is not just an instrument of war
Since the early days when the first settlers came to America and founded our great nation, brave men and women have defended our nation from enemies, both foreign and domestic. When enemies attacked the early settlers men and women stood toe to toe, side by side, fighting off the attackers. Later, militias were formed. Though there were no women in the militias as far as I can determine, the women still looked after the home front while their men defended them in battle. They established undergrounds and performed many great deeds of courage.
From the very inception of our nation, we Americans, a hodge podge nation of European poor, indentured, wealthy, educated, and uneducated, all walks of social and economic life, came to America; and, did what Europe and no single nation previously could, united as a single body of people under one flag, one constitution, and one common ideal, democracy, and became the great nation we are today.
Throughout our history as we struggled with overcoming those issues that divided us, we began to grow as one nation, respectful of our individual heritages and protective of the new one we were building together! We survived a Civil War that might have left us all continually at odds with one another with issues ranging from slavery to the economic differences of one region with regard to another, culminating in the great social era of the 60′s and 70′s. But, through it all, we grew, ever forward to become what we are today.
Our military has developed, too, into the greatest military power in the world. It has grown from that ragtag militia that defended and fought King George [under the leadership of Washington] for our independence, fought in the War of 1812, at the Alamo against Santa Anna, at San Juan Hill, on Granada, in both WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, into the great power now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to help free them, protect our own nation and safe guard freedom and democracy throughout the world!!
Unlike many nations and militaries, we helped rebuild Japan and Europe after WWII. We didn’t annex or take over any of the nations we helped rebuild. Our military played a major role in Japan under MacArthur in helping to rebuild Japan. In Iraq and Afghanistan, as we continue to work to help those two countries become free democracies, we are also helping to rebuild infrastructure. That work is being done primarily by our military.
Our military is not just an instrument of war. It is also an instrument of humanitarian aid and support at home and abroad. During natural disasters they provide help by delivering necessary food, water, and medical supplies when needed. During hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes, whatever the natural disaster, our troops provide help and aide at home and abroad when needed.
When they aren’t fighting wars or providing aide to the needy in disasters, some of our military explores off world as Astronauts. I vividly remember John Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon. Had an assassin not killed him, Kennedy would have been proud of those first space explorers. He would have celebrated with them and our nation their successes and mourned as we all did, their tragedies!
Our military men and women get no over time regardless of how long their day. While they do get free medical care, housing or housing assistance for off base living, they still survive well below the middle income bracket in America. They depend entirely on the political mood at a given time for their services and needs. At times the members of our military are drafted; but, presently we have an all volunteer military.
Today, on the average, their educational level is higher than that of the civilian population. I suppose you could call that a myth buster. When I was in the Corp from ’67-’71, there were many volunteers; but, there was also a draft in effect. There were also a number of soldiers given the choice of incarceration or military service by judges for certain, less severe crimes. There was a tendency to label all military as people who lacked what it took to “make it on the outside!” I always had to laugh at that particular comment!
Since our pioneer days, one thing hasn’t changed with regard to our military, whether militia, National Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserve units, men and women have been dying in the service of their country at home and abroad. They serve as reservists, career soldiers, or for one or two enlistments. Many of our soldiers’ family endure financial hardships, loneliness due to deployments, overwhelming stress, and constant fear of the unknown, especially during times of conflict. Why would anyone deliberately put themselves voluntarily through such a difficult life?
It may seem foolish to some, it may even seem seem trite to others; but, as a veteran myself, I can honestly say that when we take the oath of service, we mean every single word:
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.
Our nation’s citizens may become complacent. Our politicians may forget who they are supposed to be representing. They may be selling out their integrity and the ideals they spoke of in their oath of office to lobbyist, special interest groups, their own personal agendas! Our elected officials, judges, and other public officials may even attempt to move our nation in a direction that does not adhere to those great principles and guiding forces that led to the formation of our great nation. Unfortunately, even some Presidents forget to follow the ideals of their oath of office.
But, I feel confident saying that rarely does a single soldier forget his or her oath of service so freely spoken. Rarely does a soldier put him or herself before his or her nation. So, if you lover your freedom, thank a Veteran or Soldier. If you love your country, thank a Veteran or Soldier! If you love the peace and prosperity we enjoy, even during the tough times compared to most people in the world, thank a Veteran or a Soldier!
I thank God every day for our soldiers, men and women, for all that we enjoy as Americans. I give thanks for their families for all they too sacrifice on our behalf. I say a prayer of thanks for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families! Then I say another prayer that our elected officials and citizens will take a close look at these American Soldiers and really think about what all their sacrifices can teach us about love of country and fellow man!!
[I apologize for this late posting. I must have written a dozen posts before I finally decided to write this post from the heart!]