By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… Last Friday we buried a veteran: Jeffrey Foutz Humes. He was a battle casualty. He died in Afghanistan and merely came home to lie down. Looking at the flag-draped coffin, a number of thoughts went through my mind.
Preceding a raid deep into Japanese held territory during WWII to rescue American POW’s, Lt. Col. Henry Mucci made the statement, “Nothing in our lives will be more important than this.” While this mission was important, what is more important are the men and women of America willing to sacrifice in the defense of their country.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated he was prouder of being a soldier than of being president. This pride in one’s service is shared by nearly all who served. This pride is on display on every obituary page where military service, regardless of how many decades have passed and subsequent achievements reached, is mentioned with the death notice of nearly every deceased veteran.
Fewer than 10% of Americans can officially claim the title of Veteran, but really all Americans are veterans. The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” While most of the debate today is over the second part of this amendment, the most important part of the Second Amendment is the first part. “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state….”
What is this Militia our founding fathers felt was so important to the maintenance of a free people? Our founding fathers can best answer this question. “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people…” George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788 “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves,” Richard Henry Lee. “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” Richard Henry Lee. The Militia is you and me and every other able bodied American citizen.
The militia began at the Battle of Breed’s Hill where fathers and sons, age 12 to well over 60, stood shoulder to shoulder and faced the greatest fighting machine the world had ever known, the British Army. You and I are no less responsible for the defense of America. This country’s professional soldiers, until after the Korean Police Action had been limited in number and only when the defense of the country was in question did the citizen soldier answer the call to arms. It was the role of the small cadre of professional soldiers to train this citizen soldier and to lead the citizen soldiers until they could be more soldier than citizen. After the need was over, the citizen soldier became a citizen again.
I spent a five-year period researching and writing a book, “The I’s Have It”, about the men who served with my father in “I” Company, Third Battalion, 334th Regiment of the 84th Infantry Division during WW II. While these men served valiantly, none became professional soldiers. When the war was over, they went home and became the parents who raised my generation.
In 1960 just short of my 20th birthday I went to the recruiting office and took the same oath Jeffrey did:
“I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So, help me God.”
This is an oath. “A solemn promise, …invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behavior.” This is non-revocable. It is an everlasting declaration of one’s commitment to the country. Once a Christian has taken an oath, he is committed to fulfill that oath. Failing to fulfill an oath would be taking God’s name in vain, breaking the third commandment. While a Christian’s service may come to an end, the oath is everlasting because it was sworn to in God’s name.
While serving in the United States Marine Corps, I was privileged to serve with the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Princeton (LPH 5). We took the first Marine Helicopter Squadron into Vietnam.
I left the service after my four-year commitment and entered Utah State University. In one of my political science classes, the professor asked Vietnam Veterans to the front of the class and the class was allowed to ask us questions about our duty.
One student asked how could I serve in such an unpopular war. My answer today is the same as it was then. “I hope to God that all wars will become so unpopular that we never have another one. But if my country calls I took an irrevocable oath and I will again answer the call. I wake every day thanking God I live in this country.”
When you come to my home, the first wall you will see is our military wall. This wall contains my father’s picture in his army uniform; he died in action in Beho, Belgium, January 23, 1945. My Marine Corps picture and the picture of my Marine son who served in Desert Storm is also on that wall. On holidays, we proudly display the American and Marine Corps flags.
We must never forget those who have paid the price for our freedom. In America, we are all veterans. Every American citizen is a citizen soldier for this is the Militia that the Second Amendment speaks to. In every war, it has been the citizen soldier, not the professional soldier, that has been the mainstay in the defense of America.
Friday, we buried a veteran: Jeffrey Foutz Humes. May he rest in the peace that escaped him in living, knowing he fulfilled his oath.
Americans must remember, freedom is not free. We must all be willing to sacrifice our comfort to make sure that those who paid the ultimate price did not do so in vain. We as citizen soldiers must be sure we are prepared to defend America.
Thought of the week… We are all citizen soldiers and that, my liberal friends, is why every American home should have a military grade weapon for each citizen living there.