On Memorial Day, we honor those who died fighting for our freedom. And as we honor their sacrifice, let us resolve to follow their example, in our own modest way.
There’s a river of blood running from 1775 to today. Sorry to spoil your three-day, patriotic, shopping binge, but that’s the reality of it.
It’s important to remember that our way of life was bought at a heavy price. From 1775 to 2019, 666,441 Americans died in combat. If you add non-combat deaths, that brings the total to 1.3 million.
To that must be added the millions who came home from war with wounds (physical and psychic) that never healed.
Here’s a really inconvenient truth: War will always be with us.
Over the course of 246 years, we fought more than 80 times – including interventions and so-called police actions. That’s roughly once every three years for the entirety of our national existence.
We tend to think only of the major conflicts: the Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam.
But Americans also fought and died in the Mexican-American War (1,733 killed), the Philippine insurgency following the Spanish-American War (1,020 dead), in a series of Indian Wars between 1865 and 1898 (919) and in the War in Afghanistan (1,910).
Those who prattle endlessly about a world without war understand neither history nor human nature.
There will be a world without war when there’s a world without greed, a world without hatred, a world without cruelty and a world without naked aggression – in other words, in a world that exists only in utopian fantasies. (How many have died in battle since Woodrow Wilson declared the First World War the “war to end all wars.”)
There are things worse than war, such as genocide and the slow death of being consigned to a slave state (living with chains around your soul).
Remember what happened to the Armenians during World War I, the Poles, Jews and other conquered peoples during World War II, the 100 million victims of communism since 1917, and the slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda, most unarmed civilians.
None of this is to say that we should wander the world spoiling for a fight or engaged in fantasy projects like nation-building or intruding in conflicts where our security isn’t threatened.
Where war is unavoidable, fighting with proxies is often preferable. All the Ukrainians asked for was military aid, not direct U.S. intervention, despite Biden’s bluster.
Wars are more likely when one side projects weakness. (Biden is a tower of quivering Jell-O.) Our disastrous retreat from Afghanistan made wars of aggression by Communism, totalitarianism and militant Islam far more likely.
Afghanistan is complemented by negotiations which will facilitate Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and our empty pledge to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty as we downsize our military.
If we would properly honor those who died in America’s wars, it’s important to try to understand why they fought.
The best answer I’ve found is in Michael Walsh’s book “Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost.” Walsh writes: “They fight for themselves, for their brothers-in-arms, and therefore for their women and children and for their country, which is the extension of family. Without women, there are no children, and without children, there is no future. And without a country … there is nothing but the tribe, the family, the self.”
Walsh is right, but such sentiments are viewed as hopelessly archaic (as patriarchal, sexist and chauvinist) by our elites, in other words, by the people who run the Biden misadministration, buffoons like our woke Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who used January 6 as an excuse to go on a witch hunt for “white supremacists” in the ranks. This in turn allowed him to indoctrinate the military in Critical Race Theory.
Besides “racism,” the president says he wants our forces to fight climate change and transphobia. The laughter is followed by tears.
We’re asking our military to go into battles led by those who believe America is evil – leaders who won’t defend our borders from the alien invasion or let the police defend our streets from the barbarian onslaught. Talk about mission impossible.
The battlelines are drawn.
The best way to honor our fallen heroes isn’t with flowers and parades, as important as they are, but by fighting for American values on the home front – fighting for those things that made America great: faith, family and freedom.