On this Memorial Day, I want to reflect on what motivated so many in our military to die for our freedoms and liberties that we take for granted today.
I enlisted in the US Marine Corp in 1984. I was shocked when I got off the bus in San Diego, was yelled at, got all my hair cut off and forced to sit at a desk in silence, while I was told to study USMC rules. If I looked up, I’d get yelled at. If I smiled, I’d get yelled at. If I said one word to anyone around me, I’d get yelled at. A thought ran across my mind at that moment, “I’m joining a group that defends the freedoms of Americans, and I feel that my personal freedoms are being stripped away.” I ended up serving six years in the USMC Reserves and was honorably discharged in 1990. This experience gave me an understanding of the men and women who risk their lives for our freedoms and liberties.
I want you to join me on a trip through our history as a country as I briefly summarize wars we fought, and why we fought them. If you hang in there until the end, I promise a profound ending.
Revolutionary War - Independence
We gained our independence when King George III forced colonists to pay unfair taxes and subjected them to onerous laws. If you don’t believe me, please read the Declaration of Independence. There's one sentence that stands out in the Declaration of Independence, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. We eventually won the Revolutionary War, and our independence. We won the second war of independence in 1812 that solidified our ability to stay independent and guaranteed those individual liberties.
Civil War – Human Rights vs States Rights
In 1860, we fought a deadly Civil War. On one side of this war, the Confederacy was fighting for individual states’ rights. The Union was fighting to keep our United States of America united and believed that the human right that “all men are created equal” needed to be enforced at a federal level. This meant the freeing of slaves. At a death toll of 600,000, this was the bloodiest battle we ever fought, and it set a clear precedent that commerce and state’s rights could not usurp individual human liberty and freedom.
World Wars – Protect National Sovereignty
Early in the 20th Century we fought two world wars to prevent the imperialism of a few countries who wanted to capture more territory.
Vietnam, Korea, and the Cold War – Stop Communism
In the mid-20th Century, we fought to prevent the spread of communism. Communism was a delusional promise to a poor population that they could end oppression by the rich and become wealthy themselves. We understood that communism resulted in nationwide poverty, and corrupt government control and further oppression of its people. Ultimately, this cold war ended in a stalemate. China, North Korea, Vietnam, remain communistic today. China and Vietnam have attempted to merge capitalistic ideas into their governments, while North Korea remains a communistic dictatorship. The Soviet Union dissolved on its own accord as economically oppressed citizens are perusing a version of capitalism. At the same time Soviet dictators formed powerful oligarchs that control most of the power in this part of the world.
War on Terrorism – Stop Forced Theocratic Rule
Formal wars devolved into ongoing skirmishes with theocratic groups who relied on terrorism to get their way. Most of these groups emanated from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. And the theology that they were promoting was a strict form of Islam.
What did they die for?
The reason that I went through this summary of our history of wars was that our soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines died in these wars. It’s not only important to mourn their loss this Memorial Day, it’s important to honor their legacy. Their legacy is us, and here's a summary of the values they died for:
Throughout our short history as a country, men and women have fought and died for all these rights and principles that have made our country and our world a better place.
Some of you read this and roll your eyes at how obvious these values are, while others grimace thinking these values are outdated in some way.
I believe that we're actively subverting every value for which so many have given their lives. I think many in our country are unaware of these principles and why they create the foundation of our great country. I urge you to read on and see what you can do to prevent these ideals that so many died for from being eroded making the deaths or those we remember meaningless.
Our federal government alone has passed roughly 30,000 laws since the founding of our country. We have replaced the whim of a monarchy with the bureaucracy of legislation. Our independence has been gradually eroded for the past 244-years. Frankly, some of this erosion is reasonable, while most of this erosion has left us with much less liberty and freedom than many socialistic countries. If that weren’t bad enough, our governors have decided that a virus pandemic gives them the authority to become dictators creating rules in the name of safety that will fine and jail entrepreneurs.
The Civil War was the start of an effort to create civil equality. The women suffrage movement in the early 20th century along with the Civil Rights Act in 1964 have added to this movement. While our laws support equal rights, our citizens are still divided along ethnic, political, and gender lines. And, it seems our government leaders wedge this divide further to gain political advantage. We are all one people and one race. Let's start acting like it.
While we have an abundance of laws, we have no desire to enforce our borders. One side says,"lock down the borders and protect American jobs." The other side says, "open the borders and ignore the laws so we can pander to another voting class." I say enough from both sides. We desperately need immigrants because us Americans have decided to stop having children. Our immigration quotas should be doubled or tripled to make up for this gap. Then we need to enforce our national borders and immigration laws. After so many died in foreign wars to enforce foreign borders, we somehow see no need to protect the sovereign border of the greatest country on earth.
I was shocked to read that 70% of millennial's support socialism. As a country, we are now subject to the same delusion we fought so hard to prevent in the stop of communism. In the defense of these millennial's, we've done a very poor job of regulating capitalism. Our response to this pandemic once again highlighted how poor we're doing. We forced small businesses to close and go bankrupt while we bailed out and allowed large businesses to stay open. We've allowed large multinational businesses to sell out to Communist China for lower-wage jobs leaving skilled workers in American with no job. I’m sure those fallen veterans are heartbroken at how easily we’ve given up on educating our children on the powerful economic engine that has benefited so many in our country. And, for those sell-outs in congress who have allowed large multinational companies to go unchecked as they freely violate anti-trust laws and revel with no import taxes on cheap foreign labor.
Freedom of Religion
Our military fought to keep countries free from the theocracy of Islam, while we hypocritically nurture the theocracy of secularism in the United States. Our founders were quite clear they wanted no influence by the church over the government as they had experienced in Britain. Likewise, they had no desire to have the government force the religion of atheism on its citizenry. And yet, that’s what we’ve done. Over the past 244 years we have eliminated the teaching of the Bible in our public schools, rid ourselves of prayer, remove God from our nation’s pledge, force the doctrine of evolution, and ridicule the practice of faith. Religious leaders stand and watch as their church populations dwindle year after year. This Godless American, is not why our soldiers fought and died.
Memorial Day 2020
I was fortunate. During my tenure in the USMC, I didn’t see one second of combat. I’m truly grateful for those who fought and died or were wounded for the freedoms I’ve enjoyed most of my life. For those of you who celebrate this Memorial Day, I ask that you not only remember those who have fallen fighting for our country, I ask that you remember the ideals and principles they fought for. If you value their sacrifice, and those values that make American free, please reverse the trends that will destroy their legacy as you vote this year.
Have a Thoughtful Memorial Day!
I write a blog post and record a podcast weekly. I write/talk on business advice, small business turn around stories, political interaction with business, business mindset and spiritual intersection with business matters. If you want to get email reminders when I post something new, please sign up.