Having just celebrated Veteran’s Day, it seemed appropriate not only to show gratitude to our nation’s veterans, but to also acknowledge the freedoms that we have been granted by our Heavenly Father, affirmed by our founders, and ensured by the honorable service of countless veterans. The celebration, however, is diminished. Why? There is a sense of hopelessness and grief because we are leaving our children a country unworthy of the ultimate sacrifices of the veterans we honor; and therefore, we are falling short of our founding fathers’ goal that we all may pursue life, liberty and happiness.
As we celebrate our liberties, we are confronted with the stark reality that we are at the same time losing them. Where is liberty when one can be arrested for hunting or fishing without a license but not for inhabiting this country illegally? Where is liberty when parents have lost authority over their own children, as parental permission is required for field trips but not for a minor to obtain an abortion? Where is liberty when we are required to show identification to board a plane, purchase liquor, cigarettes, cash a check or use a credit card, but not to vote? Where is liberty when Americans are promised the right to keep the medical insurance and doctors of their choosing, only to have millions receive insurance cancellation letters? Machiavelli’s book the The Prince, aptly describes the philosophy that has been employed in Washington: “The promise given was a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present.”
While our veterans have done their best to guarantee our right to these liberties, their valor is being tarnished by governmental corruption and public apathy. George Washington and the men of the Continental Army did not fight for the right to employment, a particular wage, housing, education, social security, or government health care. Just as our veterans did, they fought for something much more rare and fundamental; which is best described by the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” We can never bring back the veterans who died for this cause, but we can restore the freedoms for which they fought.
It is our sincere hope that we not only honor our veteran’s sacrifices, but that each individual strives to secure the libe rties we still have, and restore the liberties that have been lost for the benefit of our children and generations to come.
Robin Jackson, Ph.D.
James Prescott M.D.