I’m Honored To Be A Veteran by Robert Socha
With the chicanery and subterfuge happening in the aftermath of the 2020 election, I take this opportunity to honor and support the generous men and women who have served our Nation. Thank you for choosing to serve us in the Armed Forces of the United States, thank you to these United States for securing the blessings of Liberty we all enjoy, and above all, I thank Christ Jesus, the Lord! He inspired our Founding Fathers to create such a blessed and miraculous country that has endured these 244 years since the signing of our Declaration of Independence. I am truly humbled and honored to be writing today.
Today, November 11, 2020, at 11 AM, we observe a tradition that happens every year, on November 11, at 11 AM. We as a Nation gather together at courthouses and churches, schools, and venues across the land to say thank you to the men and women who have given their devotion to the armed services of these United States of America. This year as we honor our military personnel and celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the Armistice of the war to end all wars, World War 1, I want for a moment to describe to you how honored I am to be among such a distinguished company who call ourselves, Veterans.
This grand experiment in Liberty that we call America has been and continues to be a beacon of hope worldwide. I want to share with you a poem that defines my thoughts and feelings well:
God Save the Flag, by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,
Snatched from the alters of insolent foes,
Burning with star-fires but never consuming,
Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.
Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,
Vainly his worshipers pray for its fall;
Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,
Emblem of Justice and Mercy to all;
Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,
Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,
Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,
Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.
Born on the deluge of all usurpations,
Drifted our ark o’er the desolate seas,
Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations,
Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!
God bless the Flag and its loyal defenders,
While its broad folds o’er the battle-field wave,
Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave.
The blood of the brave! We, veterans, know the cost of Liberty; we feel in our bones and echo in our hearts the sentiment of Thomas Jefferson, who so famously wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and of tyrants.” We all too well know this cost. From the ragtag, disheveled army that followed George Washington, to repel the Redcoats, to the Marines who stormed the shores of Tripoli to free enslaved American merchants, to the Union and Confederate soldiers who fought to end the terrible scourge of slavery, to the trenches in France and the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, to Korea, Vietnam, Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and countless other sacrifices, our courageous military has well born out this prophetic statement and allowed the Tree of Liberty to continue to grow as an Oak of Righteousness, with healing in their wings.
In times of relative peace, we have stood on the wall on the islands of Liberty in Germany and Cuba. We have manned outposts on every continent and sailed every sea to provide a level of security the world has never before known, standing in defense of our Allies. Through this act of service, the world can prosper should their governments provide a vehicle to do so. Let me gently remind you and anyone else willing to hear these words: It is not the volunteer armies of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia nor the rest of the Americas; they have given tremendous assistance, especially our brothers from the United Kingdom, without which many endeavors would have been more difficult and costly to achieve; it has been the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines of these United States, who have borne the mantle of Liberty, provided the deterring effect, and given the globe a chance to live free!
And these honored few, when they return to their homes, become, more often than not, productive members of a free society, producing products, services, families, fortunes, philanthropy, and comfort when duty calls.
Certainly, these great United States have had its troubles and made tremendous errors in judgment and law and execution. It is an immeasurable tragedy to define so great a nation based on these ills, but I am often brought to joyful, wonderful tears of grace and thanksgiving when I consider that last line of the poem I just shared: “Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave.”
Yes. Yes, let us remember the good things we Americans have borne through our Veterans’ sacrifice and service. We have conquered nations, not to expand our empire, but to liberate a people, enabling them once again to pursue their destiny without the threat of despotism. History will well remember us as one of the most magnanimous, generous peoples ever to have walked the earth.
Our Veterans have not only run to battle to repel enemy armies; we have sent countless thousands across the world on humanitarian errands of compassion and mercy. From Haiti to Indonesia, the Philippines to Chile, and recently here at home to help restore Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the other Caribbean Islands affected by powerful hurricanes. We have helped rebuild nations after horrific natural disasters, immediately sending in our ships and planes to restore order and bring much-needed supplies, medicines, doctors, food, and infrastructure. And we have done this at our own expense! We lead the world in these efforts and have inspired many other countries to follow our example.
Selfless. More often than not, if you were to pull aside a Veteran who has served, especially in a theatre of war, and said to them, “thank you for your service,” which is right and proper to do, you would receive a reply of humility expressing a sincerity of service and gratitude to have had the opportunity to do so. Sentiment such as this inspires me to a belief that we as Americans can overcome our differences, continue to unite under the banner of freedom, the Stars-and-Stripes, and continue to be found as President Reagan shared just before he was elected President the first time in 1980:
“I asked Nancy, “where did we find such men?” the answer came to me as quickly as I had asked the question. We found them where we’ve always found them; in our shops, on our farms, on our city streets, in our villages and towns. They are the product of the freest society the world has ever known.”
So I salute you, you who would easily have given that last full measure of devotion, and I thank you for your service. May you always remember that this is a grateful Nation, and because of you continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave!
God bless you and God bless the U.S.A! Thank you.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.