I’m too young for memories of Vietnam. My father entered Marine Corps boot camp when I was two years old, fully expecting to be sent into the war, but we were pulling out by the time he graduated. My grandfather was a veteran of World War II. I was raised with respect for the military. I was taught that the cause in Vietnam was just and the treatment of our returning soldiers despicable. If all I have to go on is the character and conduct of those who hold opinions today, I would have to conclude that I was taught correctly.
I respect our military today and I thank all of you who have served and still choose to do so today, but recent events trouble me. Could the time come when yesterday’s media constructed villain becomes real? We trust our military to fight for us in protection of our freedom. Might the day come when they fight against us to take it away?
Our military is being demoralized in every sense of the word. Pressure mounts to lower standards in order to put women in extreme combat situations. Homosexuality is sanctioned and protected. Religious expression, particularly if it’s Christian, is discriminated against. Its commander-in-chief has no respect for the law and seeks to shape it to his own purposes. How long can good men survive this environment? Why would they desire to do so? When they have been driven out, who will be left? What orders might they willingly follow?
Things have changed since Vietnam. Even though we may disagree about the rightness of the conflicts we have entered since that time, most of us at least give lip service to the idea that our brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way for our benefit should be respected. But if we continue the way we are going, those of us who stand for righteousness in this country may find ourselves in fear of the military rather than in support of it. I pray that day never comes, because it will be a dark day indeed.