We Must Fight.
“You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy?”
Then-future President Ronald Reagan spoke on behalf of Presidential Candidate Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 with a speech entitled "A Time For Choosing." At the time, the United States was engaged in the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the Space Race. The US remained on the road to political and military war, and the population was starkly divided over involvement in Vietnam. The polarization can be compared to the American division we see today. However, many things have changed.
The modern military kid looks into the face of war closer than any other generation before it. Gen Z military kids were born into war; the War On Terror, the War On Drugs, the War in Afghanistan, nuclear threat, political wars. There hasn’t been a moment of stability since we were born. The mental, emotional, and physical demands laid upon our young shoulders are carried only so that our fathers and mothers can rest assured that the values we were taught from a young age, resilience and leadership, carry us through their absence. And our country can look to us and wonder how we do it, but there is only one answer we can give them:
“Well, let us set one thing straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.”
The foundations of our country are agreements between We The People that there is a basic right and a wrong. On this principle, we trust that the other people in our society and government do what we as a nation have deemed morally correct. Follow the rules. When The People see evil so perverse that it cannot be ignored, we don’t balance the choice between peace and war. Because the choice between peace and war is ultimately constricted to the choice to accommodate depravity.
“If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. [...]And someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.”
Our understanding is that our parents believe that they would rather die fighting for what we believe to be right than to live on their knees to serve tyranny and injustice. While the choice was made for us, to serve as military children, a time will come when we are grown and must choose to send our troops to defend what we understand to be universal truths, or fall when trading liberty for safety.
“Winston Churchill said, ‘There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.’”
It is our duty to provide for the next generation of military kids a legacy that will carry them through the wars we will send their parents to fight. The wars we will be fighting in. Right now, the legacy we’re leaving behind is one of mental strength, emotional tenderness, consistent resilience, and leadership. The very things we were taught while watching the news, moving across the world, and saying goodbye. It’s not easy living through wars, economic depressions, and epidemics and pandemics, but it wouldn’t be easier if we surrendered.
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
Reagan, Ronald. A Time for Choosing : The Speeches of Ronald Reagan, 1961-1982. Chicago: Regnery
Gateway in cooperation with Americans for the Reagan Agenda, 1983.