For ten years I was a member of the military. I flew the C-5 for several of those years. The picture at left was taken on a mission flying from Dover, Delaware westbound to Qatar in the middle east via Guam and Diego Garcia. The green thing is my headset ear muff and the picture was taken just behind my head. At that moment we were over Hawaii just about to make contact with a KC-135 from the Hawaii Air National Guard to take on the fuel we needed to make it to Guam, our first stop. That day we were carrying supplies needed to support the war effort in Afghanistan. Even though I consider my job while in the military painless compared to the jobs of some of those in our Armed Forces, it was not easy. We flew 18 hour flights on 26 hour duty days with minimal rest while staying in rotten locations throughout Europe and the middle east. Don't get me wrong, I loved the people I served with, I enjoyed the challenge of the mission, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve America and the experience it gave me that I now use in my civilian life - but it was no picnic.
Life in the military is a sacrifice. Plain and simple. It is hard work for little pay, but for me, and for most of the people I knew, it was worth it. We were making a difference, we were part of a cause, and as my father, a Vietnam era B-52 pilot reminds me, "we were making history."
The United States Military performs an essential role, and it does it very well. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the only jobs that the government is still doing well. When considering the role of government, namely, to safeguard the liberty of its citizens, the military is our collective means for protecting us from foreign invasion, or in the words of the Constitution - "provide for the common defense". Unfortunately, our government has completely disregarded the limitations of the Constitution and overstepped its authority in virtually every other arena, but in regards to the United States Military, government has done its job.
Our founders had a moral foundation that directed them when considering the tenets of the US Constitution. They understood that peace, harmony, prosperity, and human dignity were all a product of liberty. They were concerned principally with securing the blessings of liberty while recognizing that throughout history, the biggest threat to liberty has been a country's own government. The concept of limited government was created in order to protect liberty from the intrusion of government power. Unfortunately, government usually becomes the biggest threat because all people, without exception, seek that which is in their own best interest - including government officials. As a result, government naturally tries to grow in order to increase its influence and power.
As citizens forget the lessons of history and the threat of government, they instead see the government as a means of gain - the ability to take from others. As this happens, even the citizenry forget that its their job to limit the size of government and instead begin to vote for those who will increase their "take" from the pot. When this occurs, all the roles that the government should be involved in are set aside, and those it should not be involved in are taken up.
The Military is a legitimate role of government, specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and an important part of protecting liberty. As such, it is constantly under attack by "takers." The legitimate roles of government are in competition against the illegitimate roles of government for funding. Providing a military is an expensive proposition. Money that goes to support the military could be used to pay for universal health care, welfare, social security, education, finding alternative energy sources, building bridges in Alaska, whatever - the entire range of illegitimate government activity.
That is why I say, support the military. It is under attack by those who would love to get their hands on that money. Other's attack it because they understand at a moral level the purpose of the military and deliberately seek to undermine that purpose. This nation is at war; war against terror externally, and a war against liberty internally. It is up to true patriots to defend this nation against these attacks. One of the simplest ways of defending liberty is by supporting that which the government should be doing and opposing that which it should not be. The government should provide for the common defense, therefore, it is up to us to encourage the government to support and strengthen the United States Military.
In addition, this Memorial Day, say thanks to those who do the work - who pay the price on a day to day basis. Say thanks also to the veterans, men like my father, who left home and comfort to defend and secure for all of us that which is priceless.
Subject areas: Military, Memorial Day ,Liberty ,Constitution