This I Believe

Harry - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on January 3, 2008
Age Group: 65+


They stand tall and proud before our Star Spangled Banner and swear their allegiance; to “…support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic; and, to obey the orders of those appointed above them…”

They proudly don the uniforms of our country.

Wearing the uniform is a privilege that exacts an awesome responsibility, because wherever it is seen, it personifies our Nation, our Flag, our President, our government’s policies, and our national commitment to universal liberty.

To have worn the uniform of these United States of America – if only for a few brief years – sets every veteran apart from his countrymen. Each Sailor who boards a ship; each Soldier or Marine who cranks the engine of his tank, or closes the breach of a Howitzer; each submariner who silently slips beneath the waves; and each Airman who leaves the comforting embrace of Mother Earth … every one of them puts his or her life on the line for this Nation, day after day. No citizen of this country should ever doubt this undeniable fact. In peace, or war, there is no difference. Their risk of death is constantly present and it is only amplified when bullets start flying.

We are blessed to live in a Nation envied worldwide. We enjoy our freedoms and prosperity because the American way of life has been safe-guarded and preserved by millions of brave and loyal patriots who have stood defiantly, to deny others the ability to take it from us.

No veteran will ever ask for recognition, praise, or thanks. But most would say, to those who consistently find fault with every Commander-in-Chief; every Congress; and our government agencies:

“Swear your allegiance, put your life on the line ….. or, as a minimum … even the smallest thing during your lifetime … to help preserve or improve our American way of life. Until you have contributed something of yourself, stop whining and complaining. You have the right to free speech; but, you haven’t really earned the privilege of being heard. We all may be citizens by accident of our birthplace, but until you have repaid part of your good fortune in some small measure, you’re just along for the free ride … and deserve no voice.

When you can point with pride, to some small, genuinely selfless act that you have performed – something you have consciously done – to make your country a bit better ….. then, all of us will listen to you!

Since the days of George Washington, our country has had its faults. Every democracy will. When a nation’s government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” there will always be that percentage of the populace that is omitted from consideration “to promote the general welfare.” But, our system has worked to the betterment of this Nation, and we will continue to thrive – no matter what threatens us. Not everyone will always be happy about how things are accomplished. Leaders make mistakes. But we must stand united, even in disagreement. Right or wrong, Americans must support America.

That is the true measure of our national character.