In the United States, today is Memorial Day. A day of remembrance for those who fought for our rights and freedoms. It is very fitting that the following was written by my co-host, Tina Erwin, Commander, US Navy (Ret.). The karma that our founding fathers created is still echoing out to this day, and into the future.
Today is the day we honor those who have served our country in foreign wars.
Today is the time to ponder what our lives would be like if we did not have, if we had not had, if we had never experienced what it’s like to have someone stand up for us.
In a certain sense, this is exactly what a military person does: he or she stands up against what is negative, what is wrong or oppressive. The goal of the United States Military is not conquest, it’s simply to protect and defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. That’s it. That’s the basic oath that we all take. . . and we take it very, very seriously
Sometimes determining what is a threat to this country and to the Constitution is a challenging situation.
Most Americans take Constitutional guarantees for granted but nothing is ever guaranteed. Every single American needs to be vigilant to make sure that elected officials honor the tenants of the US Constitution. Today, we not only honors the soldiers of two World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam, and all the endless Middle East conflicts, we honor another critically special group.
This day also honors those farmers, bakers, blacksmiths, silver and tinsmiths, the country doctors and importers who took up arms to create a country. They had to make a decision. Stay with the British or get to the business of nation building. This meant that these mostly quiet men, these souls who only wanted to live in peace had to fight for that right to live in peace. Had they not done that several centuries ago, we, dear friends, would not be having this conversation.
But they were not the only ones to serve the mission of making a new nation. There is a wonderful statement about all of those families who stayed behind to try to run the farm, manage crops, raise animals and build families: They also serve who only sit and wait. But these women weren’t sitting and they weren’t idly waiting! Think of all of those women who worked tirelessly to manage their farms through brutal winters and humid summers to create properties that would produce an income without their husbands. They didn’t just give up. They got to work! Think about their fear as British soldiers came and took all that they had, ‘commandeering’ it for the King. Perhaps this outright theft put extra steel in their slender backbones. Maybe these women and children realized that if they all didn’t take a stand against tyranny, then they would still be part of the oppressive remnants of the feudal system that had plagued Europe for centuries.
Perhaps these women and children weren’t physically standing beside Washington on that bitter cold, wintery day of December 25th 1776 when General Washington crossed the Delaware River to attack the British and the Hessian troops. No, they may not have been there, but these women were supporting their husbands who were with Washington. This particular battle was a turning point in the war. Thousands of men had already died, morale was low, families were weary of war and still they did not give up. Let us honor them all on this day.
Freedom is never easy. Honor, integrity, clarity of mission and the desire to open doors for the oppressed are the real mission of any veteran. However, the defense of the Constitution is so critical that let us not forget that this document is the foundation for democracy itself. Men and women live and die, but ideals, the ideals of freedom from all kinds of oppression, these are the immortal standards that all veterans hold dear and protect and defend.
I offer my profound gratitude to all veterans and their long serving families, who have come before me to offer their lives, their sacrifice and their contribution to making this country safe. Any my family lineage of veterans does go back to the Revolutionary War. Because of all of these amazing veterans, I am able to share my humble thoughts with all of you today.
Tina D. Erwin, Commander, US Navy Retired