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Saturday, February 24, 2007

A PROUD FATHER SPEAKS 

A PROUD FATHER SPEAKS


At 2:30 PM EST, Friday, February 23rd, my youngest son recited his reenlistment oath to serve his country for another four years. He was on duty at the time, but was relieved by a fellow Airman so that he could have the oath administered, and a few pictures taken. He then went back to his job, and finished his scheduled assignment.

When reciting this oath, he swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He swore to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and obey the orders of the President and his appointed officers, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

His decision made, and his commitment sworn to before God and man, he will remain with that small segment of our population who have voluntarily chosen to put aside the tranquility of civilian life to defend the very document that was created to insure that tranquility. As a college graduate with numerous skills and practical experience, he will use his talents and knowledge to help insure that we can continue to enjoy the blessings of being Americans. He has chosen to give a portion of his life to service, benefiting and protecting millions of others, rather than benefiting his own well being, prosperity and safety.

To say that I am proud of this young man is a gross understatement. I know his character, his ideals, his goals and his reasons for joining the military. His intelligence, generosity, loyalty and ethics are also well known to me. Yet, I cannot but stand in awe of his dedication in following the path he has chosen. Along with those other men and women of honor who have made the decision to serve our Nation, he represents the true ideal of the citizen soldier. These men and women were not coerced, cajoled, intimidated, drafted, bribed, enticed or fooled into taking on the task of protecting and defending our way of life. They have taken this oath freely, knowing the tasks they will be given, and with a clear understanding of the risks inherent with their decision.

The military of today is much different from that of my generation. They are better trained, better equipped, better led and better educated than at any time in our history. They have proven their ability to successfully carry out complicated orders under impossible conditions, while maintaining a level of humanity and honor that is unprecedented in world history.

When we look at the oath they have taken, we should take note of what it says, and consider what it does not say. They swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not just one state or region. They have sworn to protect and defend all citizens who live under the ideals set forth in the Constitution, not just one specific religion, color, race or sex. They have sworn to obey the orders of the President, and duly appointed officers, within the rules outlined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Not a Democratic or Republican President, nor a conservative or liberal President, male or female, or certain color or religion. In other words, they have sworn to be Americans, first and foremost. Any other designation is transparent to them, as it should be to us all.

There will be those who say that I have idealized our military men and women. Perhaps I have, but I can only judge by the many I know who serve, or have served, in these difficult times. Without exception, they have been intelligent, honest, brave, dedicated and honorable in their motives and actions. That they have chosen this course in their lives is testament to the vision we should all have of the citizen soldier, for they represent all that is good in America. I am proud of my son, and all of the men and women with whom he serves. They are indeed our best and brightest, for they understand better than most what being an American is all about. While a simple “Thank You” seems woefully inadequate, if said from the heart, it still says it best.


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