The following is a message by Jack Tobin, President of the Special Forces Association, that he posted coincident with Independence Day weekend. I think it will resonate with many B5 readers:
What Do I Say?
As I watch the news, each day it seems the Republic sinks deeper into the abyss that has taken so many great countries. Each day another of our freedoms disappears, taken by faceless bureaucrats, controlled by those who disregard our laws.
A neighbor’s son, just graduated from high school, ask about joining the military, I was in a hurry and ask him to come back, what do I say?
Two of my son’s, both wounded veterans ask me on Father’s Day, “Dad, was what we did worth it? What do I say?
I think of one day seeing my Father, Uncles, Grandfather’s all veterans, and they ask what happened to the Republic they passed on to our generation. What do I Say?
Growing up near Valley Forge I think of those men in that terrible winter dying of starvation, cold and disease, if they could ask was our sacrifice worth it? What do I say?
When I see a Gold Star Mother, and she asks of her son, was his sacrifice worth it? What do I say?
Generations of Americans have fought and died not for empire nor plunder, but for a Republic based on a document, not a king or emperor, but a Document, a Document that specified a government of laws, a government “of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE”, that proscribed a unique form of government, each branch with specified duties, a system of checks and balances, to ensure that no monarch, no oligarchy could abandon the principles set down in this Constitution. When these generations that sacrificed so much for so long scream, down the hall of history, “What happened? What do I Say?
Has the world’s last best hope become like the Arizona Memorial, the Alamo, yes, even Valley Forge, a site of greatness, now merely a faded symbol.
I don’t know, I can only reach back in history and quote a document that George Washington thought so important that he had it read to his army as they stood in the freezing wind, the snow soaked with the blood of their rag covered feet, veterans who had suffered every deprivation, that he needed so badly..
23 December 1776
“These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”……*
After this was read, he asked them to stay the course, and led them to the victory at Trenton, and then on to independence. That is what I say, especially to you, all veterans, men who can lead communities, organizations that can reverse the course and rebuild that which is so badly damaged. “Stay the course.”