There’s a lot of young men and women coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been decorated for valor on the battlefield. May God Bless them all.
I stand in awe of the courage and devotion to duty that these young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have shown. People often worry about the future of our nation. I cannot. I sleep well at night, not so much because these rough men stand ready to do violence (which they do), but rather that our society still produces them. These are the people that will come home with a strong sense that if their service is to have any meaning, the nation they served must be maintained in greatness. We have seen this in the hundreds of thousands of veterans who returned from Vietnam, scorned by their peers, shunned by many others. And yet they became better educated, better paid, and more satisfied than their contemporaries.
When the magnitude of their selfless service is realized by our nation, many who did not serve remember these lines of William Shakespeare:
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
They will want the respect that they have not earned. They will claim honors that belong to others. They claim the title of “Soldier” to smear the efforts of those who seek to make a better world, rather than make speeches about “injustice”. They will seek benefits and financial gain, paid with the blood of men and women who went in their stead.
These people are beneath contempt. Honor the warrior, honor his service, allow none to poach from the only lasting gift that a nation can bestow on him, the thanks of our grateful nation.