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July 02, 2006

The following comes from an email from Move America Forward

Unfortunately, it arrived in my G-mail with a zillion mile long Google-mail address, so linking it would be a major PITA.

It is an on-point message from Master Sergeant John Ubaldi:

On Tuesday, Americans across the nation will celebrate the 230th birthday of the United States of America. Everyone will be enjoying picnics, backyard barbeques, and the traditional fireworks display viewed throughout the country. Today, the armed forces of this republic are engaged in the monumental undertaking that determines if the democratic experiment begun on July 4th, 1776 will begin to sprout in the turbulent lands of the Middle East. It's easy to forget the noble undertaking begun so long ago, easy to forget the auspicious beginning that gave hope to a world that a government can be ruled by its citizens. President George Washington warned Americans that they had a new responsibility when he stated in his first inaugural address, "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." From the birth of this Republic, the foundation of this country was the proposition that all men are created equal. As President Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg Address, "That this nation under God, Shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Abraham Lincoln envisioned that the guiding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the rights conveyed in the United States Constitution would be the foundation that humanity rests on, eloquently written in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." It's instructive that many of our brave military men & women understand they are serving the cause of freedom enumerated in that cherished document, sacrificing and establishing the basic foundation of democracy in the unstable often volatile region of the Middle East. To the families of the fallen brings a special solemn meaning of sacrifice, as Margaret Johnson, mother of fallen Army Captain Christopher Johnson, stated in the Washington Times, "He knew the cost of freedom and that it was not free, and he volunteered to go to Iraq anyway." The many Gold Star Families who lost a loved one in the war against terrorism have the courage and satisfaction that their loved ones sacrificed all in freedom's cause. President Kennedy wrote in "Profiles in Courage" that, "In the days ahead, only the very courageous will be able to take the hard and unpopular decisions necessary for our survival in the struggle with a powerful enemy. And only the very courageous will be able to keep alive the spirit of individualism and dissent which gave birth to this nation, nourished it as an infant, and carried it through its severest tests upon the attainment of its maturity." As we celebrate the birth of this nation and the freedoms that we enjoy, we must remember the country's most treasured wealth; the youth who are engaged in the eternal fight against the adversary of darkness. Freedom cannot survive here if neighboring nations have lost theirs. The contemplation of the meaning of freedom is too often a vernacular of popular expression that easily reverberates in our dialogue as we discuss the rights embodied in the Constitution. Over time a tilt toward the direction of evil has contaminated the moral compass that we enjoy. Too often we have failed to realize that many regions and nations of the world still live under the cloud of totalitarianism, unable to enjoy the basic rights of man. Freedom and democracy include the participation of all, but too often many nations of the world are left in dark blanket of oppression that enslaves them to an endless abyss of misery. For freedom to be sowed, nations and individuals must be willing to stand up to the forces of evil or forever sentence future generations to a world without freedom. As the debate intensifies surrounding The War on Terror, many people throughout the vast expanse of the Middle East live as President Vaclav Havel lived under the banner of communism in Czechoslovakia. As the first President of his nation, after the fall of communism, stating in 1990, "That we live in a contaminated moral climate. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought." It seems many of us view July 4th as having little meaning beyond a day of watching fire works, and planning the backyard barbeque, but we fail as a nation to remember the history that is personified and articulated in the Declaration of Independence with the embodiment of individual liberty enshrined in the United States Constitution. Individual freedoms have been the hallmark and legacy that America brought to the world, not for the benefit of America, but for the benefit of humanity. We celebrate these rights, and cherish the fundamental rights of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion, but we fail to remember that millions around the world are denied these basic rights. Today in the spirit of that revolution that forever changed mankind, we are again building the fundamental foundation of democracy in a region that has only known terror and oppression. Americans too easily take for granted these basic rights, when we have been blessed with an overabundance of freedom that millions living under the yoke of oppression yearn for. Abraham Lincoln stated in a letter to Henry Pierce on April 6, 1859 that, "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." We often only look at our own circumstance without looking at the broader ramifications of our public discourse in regard to our intervention in Iraq. Alexander Solzhenitsyn stated in a Harvard Address in June 1978, "The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, and in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society." Opponents of the War on Terror, often speak of love of the basic rights guaranteed under the Constitution, that they are defending what we hold sacred. These same individuals hide behind the very foundations on what this nation was founded on, secure in the beliefs that they have nothing to fear from a tyrannical government. Those who protest against our troops and the missions they are serving in do not offer a practical solution to help those suffering under the suffocating burden of a despotic regime. It's easy to speak cavalierly about freedom if you are someone who has never fought for that freedom, when you live in the freest nation in the history of mankind. I note that those people seldom if ever mention the enslaved individuals behind the walls of tyranny in North Korea, Iran, and would have kept millions of Iraqi's under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. President Theodore Roosevelt said it best in Paris, France on April 23rd, 1910, "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Having served in Operation Enduring Freeom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), I witnessed first-hand the progress of people who are beginning to break the yoke of bondage that has enslaved them for generations. Many have stated that the people of the Arab and Muslim world do not want democracy imposed on them; we aren't imposing democracy, but establishing the foundations of democracy, that only they can choose to implement and embrace. Last year Iraq witnessed three monumental elections that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. I was moved as I stood there, looking into the faces of these eager pioneers who for the first time were controlling their own destiny. The elections in December 2005 witnessed over 70% of the Iraqi people voting in the first free election in the Middle East. Contrast that 70% turnout with our own election last month when we could barley get over 30% of eligible voters to participate in a primary election. I believe our founding fathers would have been embarrassed that so few Americans took part in the electoral process. What's our excuse? Nobody including those who serve want conflict! Ask those who served during World War II if they wanted to serve, they didn't of course, but they all knew that freedom is a cause worth defending. Those who find nothing important enough to them to be willing to defend and fight for, seem to me to be the sort of miserable creatures that John Stuart Mills wrote about. These people stand back and allow the forces of evil to gain a foothold in the hearts and minds of mankind. As Mills stated, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." On this Fourth of July lets celebrate the principles of what this nation stands for: that freedom belongs to all mankind, and lets help lift the weight of tyranny so all mankind may enjoy the fruits of freedom. The revolution that started on July 4th 1776 sparked a desire in the hearts of men that man is destined to be free as our creator intended not to be enslaved, but free! Lets spread that same freedom to others or some day our own freedom will be in jeopardy! Lets stand for freedom for all!

Posted by Seth at July 2, 2006 01:33 AM


Thanks for the thoughts, Seth. You are absolutely right on target!

Here's hoping you have a wonderful and glorious Fouth of July.

Blessings to you and to yours. :)

Posted by: Gayle at July 4, 2006 06:09 AM

Gayle --

Thank you, and you, too, as well as family and blog partner, have a great 4th as well.

Posted by: Seth at July 4, 2006 06:35 AM