Rewind the clock 70 years or so, and you would be hard-pressed to find any American who had not either served in the military or had a close relative who did. Surveys as recent as 2012 show a majority of men 65 (now 74) and older being veterans, with roughly one-quarter of the country having served at some point.
Yet in terms of those currently serving, less than one percent of our country is currently commissioned or enlisted in the Armed Forces.
While we may be used to seeing aged vets wearing caps bearing the name of the ship they served on or the infantry division they fought with, it has become rare to see current uniformed service members among us. The military provides these men and women with bases offering nearly all of their material needs – housing, grocery stores, gas stations, banking, education for the kids – the list goes on and on, and creates a situation whereupon joining the military a servicemember enters a separate world.
The military has different cultural norms, different lingo, different dress, and a different framework for family and career. The cultural divide between civilians and troops has seemingly never been more pronounced.
Yet the fact that the US military is now an all-volunteer force creates an unspoken but powerful bond that transcends these surface-level divides. Yes, the military attracts quality recruits with valuable benefits, but behind each uniform is a free citizen who exercised their God-given freedom to sign up and fight for an ideal and a cause that transcends them.
In addition to the allegiance to the Constitution sworn by every government official, troops offer allegiance to the point of death if necessary. These are free men and women who believe in the moral imperative of freedom so much that they willingly surrender some or quite possibly all of theirs for the freedom of their fellow citizens.
Despite the divide seemingly present between the military and the citizenry they fight for, they are most importantly citizens among us. They stand for what all Americans must stand for.
So by all means, thank that veteran you see today. Thank that soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or coast guardsman. Then determine as a free citizen to fight alongside them by not compromising the principles of freedom they have sworn to protect. Fight this fight in your hometown. Fight it on social media. Stand up for your rights, which in turn protects the rights of us all. Support the troops by unapologetically voicing your love for the county and the high ideal of individual liberty.
Most importantly, pray to God Almighty – the author of liberty – that He will keep these men and women safe, but more importantly that He will be gracious and merciful and bring back a unity to the nation based on submission to Him and the unchanging biblical ideals and human rights enshrined in the Constitution we’ve sworn to protect and defend.
Our service members need the unwavering support of their fellow citizens. Resolve this Veterans Day to support the troops by standing alongside them and fighting together for liberty.
Happy Veterans Day!
-Sergeant First Class David Morrill