Today is the day for honoring the people who freely signed their name on the dotted line and gave up their freedom to serve this country. Some went into combat, some stayed in the states, but all understood the need to defend the ideals, hopes and dreams of all who live in the greatest country on earth, The United States Of America.
In its first 100 years of existence, over 683,000 Americans lost their lives, with the Civil War accounting for 623,026 of that total (91.2%). Comparatively, in the next 100 years, a further 626,000 Americans died through two World Wars and several more regional conflicts (World War 2 representing 65% of that total). Using this comparison, the Civil War might very well be the most costly war that America has ever fought.
Sources: U.S. Army Military History Institute; iCasualties.org; Wikipedia
My father fought in combat during the Korean War. He didn’t know why he was there, what the reasons were, but he did his part because he believed in all that we stand for. Like all the members of the “Greatest Generation” that was part of being an American. Nothing in life is free and we all must do our part. Sadly, many of the new generations feel they are entitled to everything, regardless of the cost to others.
As I watch the protests in the streets against our new President elect, I can’t help but be saddened by the complete lack of understanding of young people of what it took to earn and protect the very freedoms they are enjoying. No system of governance is perfect, but ours is based on the principals of the power of the people. The people voted, and the election was fair. I don’t remember riots when our outgoing President was elected, even if many were disappointed, so why now?
I think we have become complacent, we have forgotten what it meant to be ruled. The founders of this country knew first hand what a totalitarian government looked like, what it felt like to be under the thumb of one person. They instituted a system ruled first and foremost “By the people and for the people” with the power residing in the vote of the individual. No one person can change the destiny of our country, not even a President, but the votes of many can set the coarse of this ship.
I don’t believe this simple fact is being taught to the generations that will be elected in the future. I think this country might indeed fail due to the lack of understanding of how we got here, what it took in terms of lives lost for the benefit of all. I called my father today to wish him a happy Veterans Day even though he didn’t understand what I meant. Due to his PTSD and dementia, his mind is still in Korea.
He still remembers waking up to half the men in his tent with their throats slit during the night. He still talks about his feet so frozen they had to cut his boots off. He still see’s the empty eyes of his fallen friends staring back at him. Like many veterans, my father paid a dear price so ignorant collage students could scream and chant about their unhappiness with an election that didn’t go their way. And because my father paid that price, sad as their actions may be, I firmly believe they have that right.