This December marks the ninth anniversary of my being recalled to active duty out of my military retirement from the Marine Corps reserve. I was one of the thousands that would eventually be called out of retirement to assist our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Neither I nor my family hesitated to answer the call of duty.
The duty required us to leave our homes and forward deployed to a combat zone to serve a greater good. For the thousands of Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice and for their families, the sacrifice will be forever remembered and emblazoned in their hearts and minds.
Many Americans are very kind to thank us for this service even though thanks are not required nor expected. Serving is our duty and our responsibility. Serving is our honor.
Still others tell us that they support the service member but not the war.
All of my fellow service members serve with the understanding that we have the responsibility to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. It is our duty. It is our calling. It is our privilege.
Yet, in the intervening nine years since returning from Iraq I have become increasingly concerned that we, as Americans, have become increasingly willing to allow others to fight for rights and freedom for others abroad while we neglect the responsibility to keep our own Nation free.
While I understand that it is extraordinarily easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems facing us, the responsibility to keep the lantern of liberty burning is the responsibility of all of us.
Imagine if the founding fathers had felt overwhelmed and just gave up the struggle in the dark days of 1780. Where would we be?
Imagine during the bleakest days of World War II following Pearl Harbor if Eisenhower, Marshall, Halsey, Nimitz, Arnold, or 12 million American service members had felt overwhelmed and just given up. Where would we be?
Have we given up?
The America that I now see is not the America that I left nine years ago.
The idea that an Attorney General of the United States could be held in contempt of Congress and no one seems outraged is appalling.
The hypocrisy of the liberals passing the Affordable Care Act legislation in the House, the Senate, and the White House without bipartisan support and without having even read the bill and then claiming it is the law of the land is appalling.
Abuse of power is abuse of power.
This President’s absolute disdain for the Constitution in the process of appointing federal judges is appalling as well.
Is this the kind of nation that we have become?
A Republic is to protect the rights of the minority and not to allow for the abuse of the minority when the majority comes to power. In a republic power is vested in the people and not in a tyrannical government leader.
The abuses that exist in the Senate, the President, the Internal Revenue Service, and other federal agencies, must be checked by a system of checks and balances envisioned in our Constitution. Failure to do so will enable a government to turn all of us in the slaves.
Our Constitution provides for a separation of powers to counteract just the type of abuse seen today out of Washington. Any attempt by those in power to circumvent or neutralize those barriers harms us all and generations to come. The very experiment at freedom is at stake.
Now is the time for us to continue to remain vigilant, to continue the struggle to preserve this testament to the freedoms of mankind.
Just as the Founding Fathers and brave Americans in all the wars did not give up during the bleakest of times, neither must we surrender to the temptation to reduce our resolve. Now is time for us all to stand with one another to preserve that cause of freedom for future generations.
We do not have the right not to care. We have the responsibility to vote, to decide our future with a conscience as an American who stands in the long line of patriots who stood tall when times were bleakest.
The Bill of Rights applies to us all not just to those that agree with this President.
All citizens should be united to demand that government be held accountable and be transparent.
This experiment that we call democracy is worth fighting for. I did and I know you will. Stand tall! Stand firm! Stand resolved. The cause is greater than us all.
Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected] and twitter at @fryan1951.