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Editor's Respectful and Important Note:  This message contains a very heartfull freedom call and relates it to a touchy subject -- societally, and within the gun community, as well: God. Mr. Miller also chooses the path of Christianity for his own spiritual sustenance in these troubling times. Below is a message that shares beliefs many Americans and many of our own visitors and members share, and the message offers much to those whose beliefs go along different paths, as well. So we offer this openly, to any who will benefit from it. And we offer On Veteran's Day in respect to other people's non-Christian beliefs, as well. In fact, if there be a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Native American, or any other member of any other religious or spiritual background who would share the Patriot's Path from another religious or spiritual perspective, we will gladly publish your own message -- in hopes of inspiring others with whom your spiritual practices resonate, and in showing that the road to restoring American Freedom is open to all who agree upon the fundamental principles upon which our America was founded. It's going to take all kinds to win this modern but ancient struggle for independence, and here below comes a message that, we believe, will help those who ally with Christ. If this message seems troubling to those who disagree with what inspires its author, we gently ask you to simply click to another page and know that some are being served by David Miller's presentation of what calls him to action in defense of Liberty.

On Veteran's Day

by David J. Miller
TheBluesMan@KeepAndBearArms.com



One of my earliest memories of childhood was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance"

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The words of the Pledge of Allegiance didn't mean much to me when I was a kid. I think that when most kids first learn it, they wonder why the republic is for Richard Stands. The older I get, though, the more I appreciate learning about the history of our country, and of things like the Pledge of Allegiance.

I did a little research into the background of the Pledge and found out that it was written in August 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy. His original pledge as it was written in 1892 was only to "my" flag, not to "the" flag of the United States of America. That part was added in 1924 and codified into Public Law in 1942 during the wave of wartime patriotism that had swept the nation. In 1954, during the anti-communist era, the words "under God" were added. This, it was reasoned, would keep the "Red Menace" at bay. Thus the pledge had become both a patriotic oath, and a public prayer. It was also during this time that the official motto of the United States was changed from "E Pluribus Unum" to "In God We Trust," and that motto was added to all of our money. Can you imagine our congress today passing a measure to add "God" to anything?

I said before that the pledge is a patriotic oath. Another patriotic oath is taken by all personnel inducted into the armed forces of the United States:

"I do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same... So help me God."

This oath, like the pledge of allegiance, uses the strongest words possible to anchor in stone our commitment. We use words similar to these when we are sworn-in to testify in a court of law, as well as when we get married. The common thread running through all of these oaths is the use of "God." It seems to me that anything that is to be taken seriously in our lives uses the name of God to cement our intentions.

A wave of patriotism swept through this land of ours nearly 60 years ago. Men were called to become soldiers. They were called from their lives as farmers, accountants, carpenters, doctors, and all professions. The rich and the poor alike were called away from their homes, their jobs, their families and their friends to take an oath to defend the Constitution. To leave behind everything, and swear to God to defend something that many of them had never read before. This meant training to become soldiers, and being a soldier means you are trained to kill. Good men, reluctant men, were told that they would be shipped to Europe, or North Africa, or to the middle of the Pacific Ocean; to fight and to kill the enemy of the Constitution, the enemy of Freedom. To fight against tyranny.

Veterans Day is a day to remember and honor these brave, yet reluctant men. It is said that, "All of them gave some, and some of them gave all." There are 9,386 of the men who gave all, buried in a cemetery at St. Laurent-sur-Mer. This cemetery is located on a bluff, overlooking a beach in Normandy, France; which, in June of 1944 was known as Omaha.

It is in this cemetery that a recent film makes its start. Saving Private Ryan was made by Steven Spielberg. The first 30 minutes of the film graphically show the blood and horror of the D-day landing. Spielberg's intention was to strip the glory away from war and show today's generation what it was really like.

Dick Feagler, in the Plain Dealer, had the following to say about this: 

"Unfortunately, American movie audiences have become jaded connoisseurs of special effects gore. In the hands of the entertainment industry, violence has become just another pandering trick. But Spielberg wasn't pandering. Steven Ambrose, in his book 'D-Day,' tells the story of the Normandy invasion as a story of unimaginable slaughter. The young men who lived through those first waves are old men now. Many have asked themselves, every day for more than 50 years, why they survived. It is an unanswerable question.

"The air was full of buzzing death. When the ramps opened on many of the landing craft, all the men aboard were riddled with machine gun bullets before they could step into the water. Beyond this cauldron of cordite and carnage, half a world away, lay an America united in purpose like no citizen under 60 has ever seen. The war touched everyone. The entire starting line up of the 1941 New York Yankees baseball team was in military uniform.

"Almost every family could hang a service flag in the window, with a star embroidered on it for each relative in uniform. 

"In the early hours of D-day, with the outcome of the battle still in the balance, the nation prayed. Ambrose tells us that the New York Daily News threw out its lead stories and printed in their place the Lord's Prayer. 'I fought that war as a child,' a historian on television said the other night. I knew what he meant... We all saved fat and flattened cans and grew victory gardens. But we did not all go to Omaha Beach. Or Saipan. Or Anzio. Only an anointed few did that.

"The men of World War II are beginning to leave us now, 77,000 last year alone. Those men left us with a simple request. You can hear that request in 'Saving Private Ryan.'"

Those are powerful words from Mr. Feagler.

Now I would hate to ruin the movie for those of you who haven't yet seen it, so I will be kind of vague. Saving Private Ryan is a story about a squad of Rangers who are ordered to penetrate enemy lines to locate and retrieve a soldier named Ryan. Ryan had three brothers who, unbeknownst to him, were all killed in action and it was determined that the last Ryan should be returned home, lest his mother lose all her sons in the war.

So eight rangers risk their lives for one man. One man that their commanders decided was more important than any one of them. Needless to say, not all of them are thrilled with the prospect of piercing the enemy's line to bring back just one man. These men had sworn an oath, though, and so they went. Reluctant warriors. 

As it is in war, it is also in war movies, not everyone in the squad survives to the end. When one of the rangers is hit with enemy fire, he motions Ryan over to him. He says two very important words to him. Two words, before he dies"

"Earn This."

In that moment, that soldier became every veteran speaking to every American. Earn what we all fought for and what many of us died for. Think of us often. Remember our names. Do not forget us. And that is the request of all the young men who have died in all the wars from Normandy to the Cho-Sin Reservoir. From Da Nang to the Gulf. From Somalia to Kosovo. Earn this.

I have since realized that my own free and bountiful life has been baptized in the blood of the soldiers of World War II, and of all the other wars. I have realized that the 9,386 men buried at St. Laurent, though a fraction of the total that died, did for me, in a very real way, what those Rangers did for Ryan. I have realized that the men who fought, and lived, and came home and are living out their lives right now did the same... For me. Perhaps I owe all of them an accounting of how well I've lived, of whether I've earned what they've bequeathed to me and the world. 

I struggle today, wondering if I can ever make the equation balance. Deep down I know that there is nothing that I can ever do to earn what they did for me. There is no accounting to balance the equation of even one man dying... for me, let alone... thousands. 

And yet, it is exactly that which brings me to church each week. The realization that one man - one man - did die for me. And I am faced with the same question: "Am I living my life as though Christ had said, 'Earn this?'" How many of us actually live our lives with that goal in mind... to show Christ that we know what He sacrificed... and that we are grateful enough to try to live the best lives we can. I realize now that each one of the thousands of marble crosses in that cemetery in Normandy, represents an individual crucifixion. Someone - usually a very young someone - has died for someone else's sins. 

How do we begin to give an accounting? We begin by remembering. Remembering the fallen soldier who never returned, remembering those that did return, scarred and scared, and different somehow. Remembering is how we begin again in Christ. By sitting at His table, eating and drinking of Him, and remembering the One who gave all. 

Then we must be thankful. Giving thanks to God is something we do easily. We do it at the beginning of each day, before each meal, and when we lie down. We must also be thankful to those reluctant warriors who fought against tyranny so that we may be free. Don't assume that they know the world is thankful. Do your part, tell a Veteran today that you are thankful for the sacrifices that they made, on the altar of freedom.

Finally, we must let our light shine. You know the children's song, "This little light of mine." Well, that is all we need to do, finally, to earn this. Don't hold back any action that is good. No matter how small and insignificant it may seem, do it. Someone once said that, "All that is required for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke) The gift that we have received from our Veterans is Freedom, and "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance." (Thomas Jefferson) We must guard and protect this rare and costly gift. We must be vigilant, we must not allow evil to triumph easily. A small bit of good now may prevent a great evil later.

That is what I think we all need to do, to, "earn this." Remember; Give Thanks; and Let Our Light Shine. Remember all the men and women who gave their lives for others. Give thanks to all the men and women, still with us, who gave of themselves when it was required. And finally, don't let the torch go out. Keep the light of the torch that they passed to us burning brightly by adding just a little of our own light to it. These are the things that we need to do as Christians, and as Americans; so that we may continue to enjoy Freedom, Equality, Liberty and Justice for All.

Heavenly Father, let us live our lives so that at its end we can look into the face of Jesus with joy as He says, "Well done, my child... you were worth the sacrifice." 

Amen. 

Completed October 20, 2000
2000 by David J. Miller
All Rights Reserved.
Please distribute freely. - DJM

 

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Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property . . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them. Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War (1775).

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