While many are making New Year's resolutions, I have considered my own. At the top of my list is duty to country. While not enlisted in the military nor am I in elected office, I respond to my "duty to country" in other ways.
Politics has a direct correlation to the direction our country will go in the future ... and we all have a duty to be a part of that. Some take up that duty ... others are too busy with other things.
W. Thomas Smith, Jr. tackled this subject in his latest column at Townhall.com. He begins with some history:
On the morning of October 21, 1805, a force of some 33 British warships sailed in two columns toward a 41-ship French-Spanish fleet – the teeth of Napoleon's Navy – off Spain's Cape Trafalgar. The allied fleet commanded by Admiral Pierre Villeneuve was of course larger. But Admiral Horatio Nelson, commanding the British force, possessed the better tactical mind and perhaps the most superbly trained gun-crews in the world.Even without being prompted, Americans should feel a duty to country especially at a time of war. Some have grumbled the Bush administration has not called for sacrifice from our fellow citizens, a true enough statement. The President's reasoned, however, that al Qaida would not cripple America, and he urged Americans to continue with their lives in a normal way.
As the British ships neared the range of the enemy's guns, Nelson – aboard his flagship, HMS Victory -- ordered his signal officer to hoist a series of telegraphic flags, sending a message not only to his subordinate commanders on his other ships, but to all of his anxious sailors and Marines who -- at that very place in time -- were bracing for one of history's epic sea battles.
“England expects that every man will do his duty.” [my emphasis]
However, the President did not say to completely ignore the war. He did not say to shirk duty to country. He did not say to forget our soldiers who were on the front line keeping us safe from terrorism. He did not say to forget volunteering for civic and church groups. In fact, he urged Americans to volunteer.
Common sense should prevail for each individual at a time like this. Do we need someone to constantly remind and prod us to do the right thing?
We need to educate ourselves about our enemy. In my opinion, the number one issue facing America is terrorism. If we have terrorism occurring on our shores, nothing else will matter. It will do no good to have library or art funding, transportation monies, school funding ... because if bombs are going off over our heads then terrorism will supersede it all.
If President Bush had called on the Nation to sacrifice for the war, the MSM and liberals would probably be bashing him ... they would perceive it as an imposition on their lives, a war that they want done and finished with because, in their opinion, it has lasted too long.
Kind of like they are doing now with the war ... finish it, end it, be done already! It falls into that "damned if you do and damned if you don't" category.
Never mind that we are in battle with a vile enemy, and never mind that President Bush said from the onset that this would be a long and drawn-out war that would be fought by our children. We are up against a new enemy who infiltrates and kills us. Period.
Sense of duty to country? It should be instilled in each of us.
I began working on this post before the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27. She was involved in politics out of a sense of duty to her country, something that was instilled in her by her family who also felt the pull of duty to country ... and, as a result, her father was executed by the opposition and her two brothers were assassinated. After Mrs. Bhutto's death, that tug of duty is being carried on by her 19-year-old son and her husband.
American students should be taught more American history, government, and civics. We need to have a sense of ourselves in order to feel patriotic about our country and to feel a sense of duty to help preserve it.
If we do not persevere ... if we do not feel a sense of duty ... we are doomed to fall to socialism , communism, and terrorism and, much like a company that is weakened by the devaluation of its stocks and is ripe for takeover, the United States may find itself weakened and overrun by those who want to conquer us.
W. Thomas Smith Jr., who is a former U.S. Marine infantry leader, parachutist, and shipboard counterterrorism instructor, concludes his column by saying:
... duty should always be among the highest signal-flags flying above our life's work.Continued duty to country in 2008. That is my resolution.
Hours after running up his now-famous flags – as the Battle of Trafalgar raged – Nelson was struck down by an enemy sharpshooter. As he lay dying, he learned of his great victory. England was saved; it's naval supremacy would last for another 100-plus years. Nelson's purported last words: “Thank God I have done my duty.” [my emphasis]