When I consider the fourteen Senior Fellows of the London Center for Policy Research, of which I am one, I am simply astonished. What makes America such an exceptional nation is that it has no regard for where you were born, or where you came from? All it takes in America for success is your own drive and determination. The challenge for us today is to preserve that definition of exceptionalism that focuses on equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcomes.
The mission to safeguard that aspect of our liberty falls to the men and women who stand on freedom’s rampart. They don’t ask for much but are willing to give their all. I am concerned that today we do not have a Commander-in-Chief who is willing to give his all to them.
This week we will recall a very memorable day in American history. The day, 150 years ago, when the 16th President of these United States, Abraham Lincoln, unfolded a piece of paper and read 400 words in dedication to the honored dead from a battle which altered the course of the American Civil War at Gettysburg.
Amazingly enough, that battle was fought on those quiet hills in Pennsylvania from July 1st to the 3rd in 1863, four score and seven years after Thomas Jefferson put quill to paper establishing the greatest country the world would ever know.
Lincoln began the Gettysburg address remembering the promise of Jefferson, that this nation was conceived in the belief that all men were created equal. There on that battlefield, this nation was embroiled in a great Civil War to ensure that premise was indeed honored, then, and into the future. My favorite part of the Gettysburg address is, “we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”
Now, seven score and ten years from the day that speech was delivered, the current American president does not feel this day of honor and remembrance deserves his attendance.
Therefore, as a simple Soldier, here is my remembrance of that day at Gettysburg:
Four score and ten years ago, this great nation stood divided on the fundamental concept of liberty and freedom. There were those who believed they possessed the liberty to withhold the freedom of others and that was defined as their right. Another part of this great nation believed, as a slave-owner wrote, that we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights from their Creator, these being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This nation went to war, a Civil War, to guarantee the promise of the latter, rather than live with the shame of the former.
So here amongst the picturesque Pennsylvania hills surrounding Gettysburg two armies met: the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac. And as poetic justice would have it, they met from July 1-3, 1863 to determine the course of this great land. The latter prevailed at the end of those three days by way of sheer determination, but both sides displayed uncommon valor and bravery. The defining moment to end the physical bondage of others had come and freedom was the victor.
We remember the honored dead of Gettysburg – but let us remember all the honored dead who have made the stand against the enemies of freedom: Fascism, Nazism, Japanese Imperialism and Communism.
However today, this great country, this longest-running Republic the world has ever known is yet again embroiled in a seminal fight for liberty and freedom. The current ideological conflagration in America pits a belief of collective subjugation, by means of the metaphysical bondage of dependency, to the will of government as opposed to the liberty of individuals to determine their way in life – enabling their pursuit of happiness. Ironically, today the political names of the actors remain the same; only the circumstances have changed. We again are challenged to honor the promise of our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, and the words of Jefferson, as well as our Constitution.
It is not only this internal struggle against progressive socialism but also the external fight against Islamic totalitarianism, both threats to individual liberty and freedom.
Our men and women in uniform are deployed against the latter adversary, but we must all stand as guardians of this Republic against the former. What is at stake? The exact same thing that President Abraham Lincoln championed 150 years ago, “that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
May God bless the legacy of Gettysburg, the Gettysburg address, and this beacon of liberty and freedom, the Land of the Free because it is the home of the Brave. The place we call home, these United States of America.