Suffer our children to protect us all

By Scott St. Clair | The Save Jersey Blog

Arlington National Cemetery - 7-3-15On the day before Independence Day, I stumbled upon a Facebook post by a mom helping her college-age son – “My baby boy” she called him – prepare to go off to ROTC summer camp. She said typical mom stuff about helping him find regulation sunglasses, assuring that he had enough warm socks and, what struck me hard because I’m there, too, is her closing lament that hers were “all meager attempts to say I wish I could still protect you. Instead of you going off to work to protect us all.”

Gut punch, or what? But especially as we head into the July 4th holiday, the celebration of the national birthday where most of us will spend a few extra days in leisure and enjoyment – we’re headed off for a couple days in Amish country in Pennsylvania – those kids of ours are manning posts, monitoring computer screens, crewing ships, maintaining equipment and doing their jobs so we can take time off from ours.

Blake in army uniform - 11-11-14
Blake in army uniform – 11-11-14

The child who, what seems like only a moment ago, was wobbling about trying to learn to ride a bike as you ran alongside to protect him from harm in the inevitable fall, is now grown and bearing arms against a sea of our nation’s troubles to oppose them thus preventing what would otherwise be our inevitable fall. Who’s is the bigger task?

Among my children, step-children and children-in-law are four either serving members of the military, national guardsmen or veterans, and I think about how, in the ultimate final analysis, our safety and security is in the hands of mostly 18 to 25-year-old kids – the nation’s children – who VOLUNTEER for the job.

Parents spend the better part of two decades protecting their kids only to have them turn around to take up the job of protecting us. When the question goes forth, “Who will step up to do it?” the answer comes from the back of the room, sometimes from a kid we might not have ever thought would amount to much, the ultimate response of a willing servant, “Here am I, take me.”

Olivia in the navy - 11-11-14
Olivia in the navy – 11-11-14

This past year saw us with one in Afghanistan for the third time (six war-zone deployments overall) and one in Qatar for his first in a thermometer-busting hell hole. Both have since returned, with the one now at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and the other home playing video games with his brother and drinking wine with his fiancé.

In the modern military, young women also raise their hands to swear an oath. My oldest son is an army master sergeant with 14 year’s service, one-third of it spent deployed to one sandbox or another, and his wife is a navy veteran. They met when both were deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Seeing pictures of your daughter-in-law in camo-patterned utilities wearing body armor and a helmet is jarring even if she’s having fun with a bunch of Afghani children.

It’s fashionable in the elite salons of the liberal intelligentsia to heap scorn upon these young men and women – “a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as ‘heroes’” – claiming, instead, that what keeps America strong and free are social workers and government welfare programs.

Whatever scorn there is to be heaped, let it be upon the heads of such ingrates and cowards, especially since they’re never seen within miles of a recruiting office nor can they be counted upon to put their bodies between us and those bent on attacking us to destroy our freedoms and way of life.

SFC Mark
SFC Mark

I’m pretty certain that the thousands upon thousands interred at Arlington National Cemetery and other similar burial grounds across the nation and around the world died in such a way that the appellation “hero” applies without anyone being able to claim it’s “childlike.”

Politicians and generals can plot and scheme to no good end, diplomats can bungle us into disastrous conflicts, crony capitalists can become rich beyond the dreams of avarice in the profiteering and critics can abuse their freedoms by looking down upon those who serve, but in the final analysis – when the real shit hits the fan – we are dependent upon our children to carry the load, do the dirty work and pull our foolish chestnuts out of the fire.

Without them – without hundreds of thousands of baby boys and baby girls – we wouldn’t have any independence or freedom or a country at all. When you picnic or watch fireworks this July 4th weekend, think on that for a moment – I’d take it as a personal favor.

Tom Pops at Sara's wedding wearing uni  kilt

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3 thoughts on “Suffer our children to protect us all

  1. This is beautifully written, clearly heartfelt, and eloquent. Which makes the ‘elite salons of the liberal intelligentsia’ remark not only gratuitous, but contrary to the generous spirit of the piece. I have never heard of, much less, participated in, such a ‘salon.’ More importantly, I have never heard any of the many liberals of my acquaintance denigrate the service and sacrifices of the American military, in which many members of my family have served (most recently, my nephew spent 18 months in Afghanistan). So as I wish the writer a Happy Independence Day, I also wish that the next time he decides to share patriotic thoughts, he would also consider not insulting fellow Americans with whom he disagrees. We’ve already got plenty of enemies in the world. We don’t need to invent any at home.

  2. This may be some of what he speaks of.

    “Forget bringing the troops home from Iraq. We need to get the troops home from World War II. Can anybody tell me why, in 2009, we still have more than sixty thousand troops in Germany and thirty thousand in Japan? At some point, these people are going to have to learn to rape themselves.”

    – Bill Maher

    “Democrat flaks jump on this like ducks on a June-bug, and in the process themselves reproduce the sick militarism of this culture that automatically valorizes anyone who wears a uniform. How dare you insult a soldier! Like its some sacred calling instead of an imperial employment program steeped in the culture of machismo and misogyny.(And you can gasp as theatrically as you want… I spent more than two decades wearing a uniform… that is exactly what it is.)”

    —Stan Goff at the Huffington Post

    “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

    —John Kerry

    “I think Bowe Bergdahl, if he deserted, is a hero – I think throughout history we should build monuments to the unknown deserters.”

    – Bill Ayers

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