We remember: A Veteran’s Day message…

  • Published
  • By Maj. Wayne Mosely
  • 92nd Comptroller Squadron Commander
     For centuries, history books have addressed the importance of the American Armed Forces and their role in upholding freedom. Whether in ceremony or celebration, we have traditionally remembered and honored their fight to obtain and preserve freedom for all.
     We remember the bitter cold of Valley Forge, with its unforgettable images of bloody foot prints left in the snow by bootless men, and the near-naked soldiers wrapped in thin blankets huddled around a smoky fire of green wood, while the plaintive chant of "We want meat! We want meat!" echoed from the starving. We remember Gettysburg and the smell of death as it loomed in the air after a fierce battle, which pitted father against son and brother against brother.
     We remember the dead littered fields that remained as a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice paid in the pursuit of liberty. We remember the American doughboys, eager and doomed, at Belleau Wood as their gallant fight sent a sounding signal to both allies and adversaries that America was on the Western Front to fight.
     We remember the gaunt desperation of Bataan, the freezing winds of Chosin, the determination of Khe San.
     We remember deafening sounds of roaring armored tanks, scud and patriot missiles, and anti-aircraft fire that filled the skies of Desert Storm, and, now, both home and abroad, we remember the men and women of the armed forces who contend with sniper fire, road side bombs and guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy determined to try and rip apart the fabrics of freedom that were woven together years ago through the commitment and service of past and present military members.
     These images, although heartrending and dramatic, are powerful and constant reminders that "freedom isn't free." They are forever embedded in the nation's historical consciousness and the reason why the American soldier, throughout history and without hesitation, has answered the call to take up arms and carry the flag. Nothing rings louder than John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends." Without their dedication to stand in the gap for what is right and good, this country could not long endure.
     The tragic events of September 11th sparked the most recent call upon the United States, the most potent resource in the defense of freedom, to fight against tyranny and terrorism. It was a sober reminder that the oath taken by every member of the armed forces that solemnly swears that he/she will "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same," applies just as much today as it has in the past. These are not just words that are written on paper and recited, but are intertwined with the fibers of the hearts of the thousands of military members who have served and are serving in America's military.
    It's not likely that anyone of us woke up this morning and had a cup of freedom with our breakfast, or has a supply in storage for use as needed. Why, because freedom is not a physical thing, but instead is a combination of mental and spiritual concepts. However, one thing for sure is the freedom we woke up with this morning is due largely to the blood that was shed by those who served and were willing to give their lives to safeguard our way of life. It was not achieved in a day, a week or year but can be lost in an instant. One cannot truly understand what one risks losing, until he realizes and appreciates that which he is about to lose. The attacks of 9-11 may have destroyed our buildings but it was not able to crack the foundation of our resolve. John F. Kennedy stated it well when he said, "Let every nation know...whether it wishes us well or ill... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
     In spite of the armed forces being half its size since the end of the Cold War, it has been engaged in dozens of conflicts, including Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti and Kosovo. The U.S. currently has active military commitments throughout the Middle East, Colombia, Central America, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Taiwan Strait.
     To this end, if we are to remain a free nation and a beacon of hope for the suppressed, then we must accept the unfortunate reality that more American blood may be spilled in combat. As stated by Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." 
     Rest assured as the threat to democracy increases in the future, the American Armed Forces will be there to meet the threat head on. Carrying the torch of liberty and further solidifying their importance in upholding freedom.