Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom Blogging - What Are We Fighting For?

On Veteran's Day, I thought it would be worthwhile to remember not only the veterans but what the veterans have prepared and fought for. Early in the formation of the nation, our founding fathers had the wisdom to insist that the oath taken by our armed forces be a pledge of allegiance not to a man or even the nation, but to the constitution of the United States. Commissioned Officer's oath:

I, (state your name), having been appointed a (rank) in the United States (branch of service), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foriegn and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Enlisted member's oath:

I, (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

These are very political oaths, but not in the sense that we think of politics today. The oath to the constitution is to a very specific form of government, that of a republic, whose powers are limited to those enumerated and further constrained by a bill of rights. Further, the members of the military have forsworn any attempt at a coup or other subversion of democratic principles. Finally, the members of the military are swearing that they will obey the lawful order of the President, the elected leader of the nation. We sometimes take all of this for granted.

In the great sweep of history over the last 230 plus years we have seen our form of government become the accepted standard against which all others are judged. By force of arms our veterans have defeated:
  • Monarchism - Defeating the British in the Revolutionary War and then preventing any reconquest of the Americas through the Monroe doctrine. Again in World War I we fought and prevailed against countries ruled by monarchs.
  • Slavery - In the civil war.
  • Fascism and Nazism - In World War II.
  • Communism - By fighting in Korea and Vietnam (even if a loss) and by the great persevering struggle of the Cold War.

Today, we are faced with another threat, not nearly as great as previous threats, in the ideology of islamic theocracy (islamofascism). We are fighting right now in Afghanistan and Iraq, but like many ideologies we have faced in the past, victory may take a while and come in fits and starts.

To those veterans who paid with their lives we offer our gratitude and we honor their memory by remembering the cause for which they gave their lives, the cause of freedom.

After we win this conflict, let us remember the words of Abraham Lincoln from his second inaugural address:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

American soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge defeat the Nazi counterattack.


  1. Thank you, B-Daddy, for those insightful words. Those of us who have taken that oath, feel it's binding even after taking off the uniform in which we served. Check out this video of the combined Academy choirs singing our National Anthem. It's an emotional reminder of what we still stand for:

  2. Great post, I have always enjoyed your love and perpsective of the constitution

  3. SpearCarrier, thanks for the youtube link, that was a great display from my alma mater and fellow seminaries.

    Dean, thanks for the link.

    Dawg thanks.