Retired USAF Major Brian Shul delivered an address at March AFB on Veteran’s Day 2001. Powerful stuff:
Yes, I believe God has blessed this nation in many ways, although sometimes we forget just how fortunate we really are…and now, after a horrific attack on our homeland, we find ourselves embattled in a war once again. And yet, there are many who seem unsure of the response we should take. Today, we honor so many who have given their lives, in defense of this country…row upon row of tombstones, silent vigils to their ultimate sacrifice. If the dead could speak today, they would tell you that all it takes for evil to succeed in the world if for good people to stand by and do nothing. They would emphatically declare to you that you negotiate with the enemy with your knee in his chest and your knife at his throat. And they would remind you that those who forget their history, are condemned to repeat it.
We are a nation guilty of forgetting these lessons. Had we learned them better, our cemeteries would be less full.
We fought a Cold War for so long, that perhaps we became weary and complacent, and when we won that war, we became soft. We indulged ourselves in the notion that the world was all-safe, and we thought a booming economy was ample substitute for a strong military. Did we really think electing self-serving politicians would make us stronger as a nation? Somehow we came to accept the notion that freedom was free. It never has been. The price of freedom has always been eternal vigilance. We need to understand that there are those in the world who would destroy us because our way of life threatens their quest for world domination.