11 November, a day to remember those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, and, honor the memory of those who died while serving.
My great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather both served in the same regiment (one of the Pennsylvania Volunteer regiments) in the Civil War. Both survived and went home following that conflict. Two of my uncles served in the Second World War – and survived. I served – rather modestly – during the Vietnam era. My two sons have both served more recently. We all came home reasonably unscathed. All of us lost people we knew and liked. They served as well, to the point of “… the last full measure of devotion.”
They are dead. Some died in combat, some of mis-adventure – both in service and civilian life – some simply of time and several of us are still alive. But we will eventually pass on into eternity; no mistake about that.
Death comes to all. Just understand that; everybody dies, sooner or later. In this, I must agree with some of the more ‘primitive’ cultures of Earth: The manner of death – the reason for death, dying in honor circumstances – is far more important than the mere fact of death. Facing one’s mortality is far better than hiding from it.
Which brings me to those who refused to serve.
During the Vietnam era, there were many who evaded military service – in fact, service of any sort. I’m not talking about a real conscientious objector, who for reasons of conviction could not harm another human being. I frankly do not understand the thinking of such, but I have known such people and respect them. The few I knew offered and served in other capacities – including my father in law who accepted military service as a medic, unarmed. (He too, lived to end his enlistment honorably and lives honorably now. Another man served in civilian life in medical service in lieu of active military service.
No, I’m talking about those who willfully evaded military service due to – and I frankly can think of no other concept – cowardice. They were unwilling to risk life and limb in the service of the United States simply out of selfish self-preservation. Cowards. Probably none of whom are reading this – as they refuse to face up to much of what I believe and prefer to hide from the truth of many things.
Sadly, our ‘society’ elected to encourage such behavior. The excuses were – and are – many. Most of the noblest sounding – and hollow – excuses being a revulsion for war and killing. As if those who served held some relish for war and killing; the standard lie the coward tells himself to excuse his cowardice.
The high (or low) point of this societal encouragement occurred when President Carter issued his infamous ‘amnesty’ for draft evaders on 21 January 1977. In doing so, President Carter dismissed the sacrifice of service of many Americans and desecrated the memory of every U. S. serviceman who died in service. His attempt to ‘heal’ U. S. society was done by belittling all the men and women who obeyed the law and honored their duty to the nation.
Duty. Now that’s a dirty word, isn’t it?
Since the day of President Carter’s betrayal of U. S. servicemen, the leftist faction of the U. S. has ceaselessly worked for the ideals of selfishness and betrayal of basic moral principles. That’s a bit of mis-statement; they had been working for such long prior and will continue such efforts far into the future. Among the moral principles denigrated is that of duty. One dictionary defines duty as “…something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.” President Carter’s stance was to ignore the meaning of duty and replace it with ‘service to Leftist goals.’
Eventually, the left won the Vietnamese conflict by functionally surrendering to the Communist forces in South East Asia. This allowed the Pol Pot regime to murder millions of people in Cambodia and the establishment of the communist government in Laos. The withdrawal of the U. S. from Vietnam set the example of running from conflict – based on the premise that dying abroad as a U. S. serviceman was an unthinkable idea. Which stems from the root abandonment of any sort of moral conviction that might contravene self-focused survival.
Of course, this leads to the plight of the United States today. U. S. society – as defined by the leftist controlled ‘media’ – lauds the selfishness of the individual. Unless, of course, that ‘selfishness’ is expressed by a desire by those who work to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Voting to tax those who work to provide spending money to those who don’t somehow doesn’t qualify as ‘selfish’; that is – according to the grasping non-productive left – ‘fairness’.
Back to Veterans’ Day.
Will we honor those who have served the United States or not? How can anyone pretend to honor those men and women who have served – voluntarily or not – honorably while denigrating their service and sacrifice? How can anyone pretend to honor veterans and simultaneously work to destroy the foundational principles of the United States? If anyone wishes to honor veterans, they must also honor the principles of duty, self-sacrifice and service to God, country and others as well – even those who make more money.
As for the surviving draft-dodgers, I leave you with a slightly amended version of the words of Samuel Adams:
“If ye love [life at any cost] better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude [to cowardice] better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which [keep your miserable existence going]. May your chains [of cowardice and self-centeredness] set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen [who contributed to the current nature of unrest about the world and national failure].”
If you are one of those who ran from service and now regret your cowardice, good. Now act like you mean it and stand for decency and duty in place of comfort and security. If it means anything, I accept you. It’s not like I haven’t screwed up on occasion.