Consideration of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is often focused on abstract ideals, principles and philosophy. Certainly these are part of the mix that guide our daily decisions and interactions with our fellow citizens. The freedoms and liberties enjoyed in the United States will forever be under attack by those wishing to exert power over the lives of others. We are blessed to have among us those that will resist those attacks, with their own lives if necessary.
I have a cousin who is a retired history teacher. The following poem had an honored place in her class room for decades. Now that she is retired and the mother of two US Army officers, it occupies an honored place in her home. My wife is an RN with the Veterans’ Administration and this poem is prominently displayed at her office. The poem says much worth a daily reminder in the most straight forward way. My thanks to Charles M Province for permission to publish his work.
The ONLY way ultimately we in the United States are able to enjoy our liberties and exercise our freedoms is if there is security from those forces that wish to take them away. There is a but a single entity that stands between the exercise and loss of our liberties:
IT IS THE SOLDIER
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Charles M. Province, a veteran of the US Army
Copyright © 1970, 2010 by Charles M. Province, U.S. Army; www.pattonhq.com