Celebrating our nation’s birthday on July Fourth is a perfect time to reflect on those courageous men who signed the Declaration of Independence, rejecting the British government. They had no idea what repercussions would result. They could have been hanged as traitors. Yet, they pledged their lives and their fortunes for independence. Struggles for independence were not limited to just these signers. Other brave supporters of the revolutionary cause, with names you’ve never heard of, risked and sacrificed much for the freedoms we now hold so dear.
American history likes to say, “We fought the British,” but in reality “we” were British subjects fighting our own government. Our military was not trained militia dressed in crisp, red-coated uniforms, but rather consisted of anyone who could shoot a rifle and was willing to fight. People were literally defending their homes, not just from the British, but from vandals and looters as well.
Today, we have a military to fight our battles for us. A freedom we sometimes take for granted.
In the movie A Few Good Men, military lawyer Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder, who contend they were following orders. Kaffee’s two assistants have differing views of their innocence and guilt. One had never served as a soldier and can’t accept they were just acting under orders. He thinks they are just bullies and asks the other assistant, “Why do you like them so much?”
The answer is, “Because they stand on a wall and they say nothing’s gonna hurt you tonight…. not on MY watch…..!”
That’s what our military does for us. They stand on a wall providing us with a blanket of protection and freedom, while we sleep, eat, work, and play.
Sometimes we blur the line between those who defend our freedoms and those who give the orders. We think they are the same, and they aren’t. Our view of the military has deteriorated through the years. “When Johnny came marching home again” after the Civil War, they gave him a hearty welcome. The same could be said for every war America was involved in through World War II. Then somewhere around the Korean War we Americans became disillusioned. By the time Johnny came back from Viet Nam, Americans actually spit on him. How sad!
Those who stand on a wall and protect us are not the enemy. In many ways they are like the signers of the Declaration of Independence. These brave people risk their lives and limbs for the freedoms we enjoy. Let’s not forget that our nation can only remain the land of the free, as long as it is home of the brave.
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