04 July 2008
What's It Worth?
We were at a bar. I sat across the table from my two closest friends, both, like me, recently returned Viet Nam Veterans. The conversation turned to military service, and my decision to make the military my career. My friends had both left the military after honorable service.
One commented "I don't want to die for this country."
It was a shock to hear the words.
I had no desire to "die for this country", but knew when I raised my right hand and swore to "protect and defend the constitution of the United States" that my death could be the price necessary to uphold the oath. I took that oath with pride.
My friend's comments were in the immediate aftermath of Viet Nam and should be weighed in that light. Many of us were bitter that our government had risked our lives in that effort, then much of that same government aided and abetted the enemy by openly using the media to further their political careers, questioning our goals there.
I told my friend I was willing to die for his right to express his opinion. It was his turn to be surprised.
There is no question that this country is imperfect. There is no question this country is now politically divided more than it has been in my lifetime.
Yet we still have defenders willing to risk their lives so we have the right to argue, and by arguing, hopefully improve this country.
In my opinion, one of the best measures of how we as a country are doing is to consider how many are willing to suffer great trauma in their lives to come here. Our great neighbor the North, probably one of the better places on earth to live, watches as citizens migrate to the U.S. in surprising numbers.
Is this country worth dying for?
Only so long as there are enough folks willing to earnestly think it is.
Thank GOD for our military!