Memorial Day sparks a range of emotions. From profound gratitude and pride in our nations heroes, to a melancholy that the universe is arranged in such a way that necessitates the presence of those heroes to have secured…and continue to secure our freedoms.
Then there is the emotion of awe.
The realization that there are giants that walk, and have walked among us. That the image of those giants does not necessarily reflect in their stature….but their deeds are mighty indeed.
Last Friday Sandy, Craig, and myself were invited to attend a veterans lunch in Orange. There were over 200 men and women in attendance that had proudly served our nation in our time of need. Half a dozen octogenarians were in attendance that had served in our armed forces during WWII. (Even a couple of women that had been in the WAC’s and WAVES.)
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here:)
Each one stood up for recognition as their respective branch anthems were played, and you could see the pride of service these men and women had. Knowing that they had done their part in their time to fight for our nation.
Richard Simonian was one of the speakers. Ever humble, Richard began by stating that as a Green Beret he had done nothing more than train during his time of service. His respects were for those in the audience that had gone in harms way during combat. Men like John Meyer, (“Tilt” to his friends), another of our speakers that wore the Green Beret into Cambodia and Laos, brining a war to an enemy that had violated a treaty agreement to stay out of those countries. Fighting a war that our own government was too nervous to acknowledge to its own people.
Richard said something during his speech that I guess I had instinctually always known, but never gave too much thought to:
During the cold war, part of his training was to be dropped into Tennessee. The police and federal agencies were made aware of their presence, and were told to hunt Richard and his team down. (I’m not sure if they were told that their prey were Green Berets on a training exercise, or foreign spies… leave it to the US Army to keep it real.)
Regardless, Richard was to infiltrate into the local community. Forage, scrounge, find work, do what ever was necessary to survive and avoid detection all the while preparing, and ultimately executing a mission to blow up a damn. (Obviously the damn was never in danger of actually blowing up… but it remains to be seen what would have happened to Richard and his team if they had been caught by local law enforcement.)
After the completing of this mission and other training evolutions Richard was deployed to Germany. There he helped assist other Special Forces units in ongoing missions. Most of those missions involved deployment behind the iron curtain.
That is when my eyebrows raised.
Richard was part of a military unit that was deploying assets onto enemy territory. Remember Richards training mission in Tennessee? There were others that were doing this mission in real life on enemy soil. The problem was… while the Eastern Bloc may have been our enemy in theory, there was no declared war going on at the time. The Green Berets were part of our nations military… not part… at least not officially part… of our nations intelligence units. These men were living for months at a time deployed in hostile areas waiting for the orders to launch their operations.
Those orders never came, and we can only assume that they were eventually rotated back home.
Here is the thing though… growing up in Orange County in the 70’s and 80’s we were still deeply involved in the cold war. To think that the enemy was not engaged in the same activities would have been folly. How many times were places near my own home growing up, surveilled by enemy combatants of the USSR?
To think that our nations enemies have retreated to their caves today is equally arrogant.
We do not live in Fortress America. Our nations greatest strength is our freedom. Freedom that has come at times at a tremendous cost. Yet as a direct result of that freedom we also live with exposure.
Ronald Regan had famously stated that we could have peace at any moment. All we needed to do was surrender to the Soviets. His wit was spot on. Regan knew that our national DNA would never have allowed us to prostrate ourselves before another.
Today we find ourselves fighting different enemies. From the emergence of Asian States that seek regional hegemony to the twisted development of neo-regligious fascism as a catalyst for a new expansive caliphate. America stands between these enemies of freedom and their self serving goals. To think that we can rely entirely on the idea of taking the fight to the enemy belies a fundamental lack of understanding of asymmetric warfare.
Sure we could “bomb them out of existence”. Until they crawl from the rocks seeking to continue their fight.
Our political war against these enemies will go for years, perhaps decades with periods of stability punctuated by hot armed conflict. Our need to protect ourselves at home has never been greater.
We will not forego our freedoms for security. As Benjamin Franklin said, “a nation that trades freedom for security deserves neither.”
So where does that leave us? How can a free peoples be secure in their capacity to continued existence without the yoke of a police state? The answer is one that our Framers enshrined in our founding documents. Each individual is endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness… that is our philosophical foundation. Our ability to secure these rights are recognized by the Bill of Rights… specifically the 2nd Amendment.
That amendment ensures that we have the operational capabilities to fight back against tyranny. Yes… perhaps tyranny of our own government… the Framers envisioned that possibility… by tyranny across multiple spectrums: the thug, the abusive husband, the mob, the foreign agent. When necessary patriots can also come together to form a militia to defend against intrusions on our own soil. (This is actually codified in the US Code).
We are not going stop the enemies of America simply by possessing a few M&P Shields. We are going to stop the enemies of America by identifying them, reporting them, and yes… when they have chosen to launch their attacks against us fighting back against them.
When the Jihadist, the spy, the foreign agent provocateur, the traitor launch their attacks against America the first combatants will not be soldiers. This is by design. The enemies of freedom have no interest in instant martyrdom by attacking a convoy of military vehicles traveling between Pendleton and Twenty Nine Palms. Their attack will be in the Malls, the schools, the places of worship… the board rooms in San Bernardino.
Sure, the heroes will arrive in time, but the effectiveness of the enemies attack is directly proportional to the willingness of their victims to fight back. Once the enemy realizes that the size of the American Military is not three million soldiers sailors and airmen, but rather three hundred and fifteen million Americans all ready and able to bring the wrath of God and justice to the enemy whether they be in Damascus or Detroit… their taste for adventurism will be moderated.
As a patriot, you have a responsibility. A responsibility that transcends job descriptions or economic status. You must be ready to act. This is not an easy task, nor one without consequences both in time and money.
As the patriotic feelings of Memorial Day fade into memory, stop and remind yourself that you are an American, (or an ally of America… our rights of man our transcendent… they do not just apply to Americans, they apply to all humanity… our Government simply recognizes and is committed to protecting them. If you have chosen to live in this great country you have made a social pact with us. Stand with us on the watch)
You will guard our land against those enemies deployed in country. You will stand with your brothers and sisters and on the metaphorical ramparts and guard against the invasion of the enemy. You will train, and train, and train… so that when… if… your nation calls on you do defend her you will be the best that you can be in our hour of need.
God Bless America.