:: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 ::
In today's OpinionJournal Featured Article, Karl Zinmiester points out, quite eloquently, a few of the reasons for being thankful this year. Most of the article refers to men of honor and purpose like this one:
Gregory Kolodciejczky was a New York City fireman. When the Twin Towers went down, 14 men from his stationhouse were killed, and he decided to help make sure the events of that day would never be replayed in his country. At age 32 he chucked everything and started a new career as a paratrooper. He believes that by fighting in Iraq he is honoring the memory of his dead friends, and helping protect Americans from future acts of terror. I know numerous soldiers who put aside well-paying jobs, family life, graduate school and comfortable careers after concluding, in the wake of Sept. 11, that their country needed their military service.
Near the end of the piece, Mr. Zinmiester makes this assessment of the current state of affairs in our armed forces and the quality of those who serve in them:
When you talk to our wounded soldiers they say, astonishingly, that they don't regret the fight. Almost universally, they say they are anxious to return to their units as soon as possible. Most American warriors subscribe to the words of John Stuart Mill: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
It's easy for critics on both the left and right to convince themselves that the U.S. is a decadent society, that our young people have gone soft, that we will never have another generation like the men who climbed the cliffs at Normandy. That judgment, I'm here to report, is utterly wrong. We've got soldiers in uniform today whom Americans can trust with any responsibility, any difficulty, any mortal challenge.
I agree with his assessment. It is clear that there are grave moral battles being fought in our nation that are as real and perilous as the battle scenes described by these soldiers. The tide of moral decay and debauchery that we see flooding across this nation does not speak well of our future. There exist real and immediate perils to our survival from both within and without this nation. But even in the midst of all of this, we can see the values that have made and preserved this nation polished and gleaming in the eyes and in the lives of men such as these. Not all battles, however, are fought with tanks, guns, and missles. Many are fought with words, in public debate, and with the gentle instruction of a parent teaching a child the value of honesty, integrity and honor, and with lives lived in keeping with these timeless values.
Don't forget to express your gratitude to God and men alike for the freedoms that you enjoy this Thanksgiving day... and to live in such a way that neither will ever doubt your sincerity.
:: Mark 8:45 AM [+] ::