We here are all Brats. At one point in our lives, we all watched our parent (or parents) don their uniforms and walk out of our homes. For many of us, those departures turned into endless days, weeks or months of wondering if they would return. Sadly, some of us also watched as our loved ones returned to us with their coffins drapped in the colors of our nation. The sacrifices that they made defy any flowery words that can be printed here.
As we honored those that perished 69 years ago at Pearl Harbor a few days ago, I started to think about their service and what they did when they came home. Most went back to work, and set about building this nation into the beacon of freedom that it long enjoyed being. They paid their taxes. They volunteered in their communities. And they attended their churches. In short, they laid the foundation for the country that we were born into. Through hard work and a fierce dedication to America, our country prospered like no other nation in the history of our planet.
But over the last few decades, there has been a slow and steady decline in the strength of our country. This is not a Democratic issue, or a Republican issue…not Red State, or Blue. Corporate greed and a personal sense of entitlement have eroded the relevance of America on the world’s stage. We are in debt not only to ourselves, but also to numerous countries that we can’t exactly call friends. Our schools are falling behind in educating what should be the future leaders the nation. And we’ve lost the ability to influence and shape workd opinion.
I say all of this as I watch my own son pursue his path in the service of his country. Are we (all of us, not just the politicians that we’re so fond of blaming) doing enough to provide him a country worth serving? Worth dieing for? Some day in the not so distant future, his own children (my grandchildren) will watch him put on the blue of his Air Force uniform and will wonder if he’ll come home that day.
Will we have done all we can do to leave behind the same country that those that lived, served (and for all to many, died) after WWII gave us? By allowing this nation to slide down the slope it has, have we done a disservice to the Greatest Generation? Do we dishonor them by having allowed this to happen to begin with? And if so, what can we do as citizens to pull us back from the brink. Can we regain the role of leaders of the free world (or should we even pursue that position again?)?
As all of you know, I am enormously proud of my limited role in serving those that fight for our freedoms out on the battlefields (sometimes out on those very battlefields with them). I harbor a deep-seeded belief and committment to this country and the foundations and ideals it was built on. It is directly because of those beliefs that I lay awake at night, pained at what has become of our nation over the last several decades. And I pray that we turn it all around, to not only honor those that devoted their lives to providing us the land of the free and the home of the brave, but to also assure that our sons and daughters who serve now are defending a country they can be proud of…a nation free from the shakles of debt, once again a beacon of freedom, equality and fairness.
So I leave it to you all, my friends and cohorts that love this land as much as I do…what can and should we do to restore the glory that those from generations past dedicated themselves to providing us?