Two simple words, and yet, last week, they seemed to cause an ever-widening philosophical separation in these United States of America. For the progressive, socialist left, our 243rd Independence Day was relegated to yet another opportunity to criticize President Trump. Sadly, the left in America, enabled by the media pundits, lost sight of those two words, “American independence.” Instead, they focused all their emotion and angst against one person. And in doing so, they have effectively transferred their hatred of that one person into a perceived hatred of America … and we know that perceptions lend themselves to reality.
Out of the clear blue, during our independence week, there was a decision by Nike to adhere to the whims of an individual. Nike took this decision, and it placed them squarely at odds with those two words, “American independence.” The flag that Betsy Ross created was the first Flag of a new nation, one that would establish the individual rights to allowing the freedoms to burn the very flag of this nation. How interesting that the very same Betsy Ross flag draped the U.S. Capitol at the inauguration of the first “Black” president in America. Now, suddenly, the Betsy Ross flag is a symbol of racism.
No, that symbol of our American independence is a standard to use against one individual, even during our independence week.
And how is it that we even have in America, the ability to celebrate our independence?
Very few know that it was on July 3, 1775 when General George Washington took command of a little thrown together group called the Continental Army outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Before there was even an America, there was an Army, created on June 14, 1775. Later in that year, there came a Navy, October 1775, and a Marine Corps, November 1775. Sorry, President Trump. We didn’t allow the U.S. Air Force to have their own sandbox until 1948. They were previously known as the U.S. Army Air Corps. But the important point is that the Army has as its motto, “This We’ll Defend,” and what was that – not a geographic location, but a core set of principles and ideals centered around the sovereignty of the individual. It was a belief that their unalienable rights come not from man, nor government, but from our Creator, a natural right we all possess.
And if our American independence was hard fought for and won by those heroic men and women, such as Betsy Ross, would we not celebrate them on our American Independence Day?
I found it rather disingenuous that any politician would be discussing costs on American Independence Day. These are the same people who waste our taxpayer dollars daily. As a matter of fact, consider the utter hypocrisy of progressive socialists speaking of the issue when this same cohort supports providing free healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants. These individuals do not see America as an ideal, just an open piece of land where anyone should be able to enter – and where they rule.
So, yes, on American Independence Day, the American people should be able to touch, take pictures with, and see the men and women who have since 1775 made American independence possible. They should see the platforms our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen use to ensure and guarantee our American independence. They should be able to know where their taxpayer dollars are being spent and talk to those everyday heroes who stand upon freedom’s rampart to defend the honor and secure our American independence. Most Americans have never seen our military up close and personal. I remember when I was stationed in Vicenza, Italy. On American Independence Day we would open up Caserma Ederle to the local Italians, and they would flood the post to see us, American Paratroopers. They would trust us to allow their children to jump off the 30ft training tower, an early version of a zip line. They would come around and gaze at our weaponry and capability, and at the end of the day, they would cheer and revel in the fireworks and playing of the 1812 Overture as our 105mm howitzers fired off the ending cannonade.
It was American independence, something that other nations shared in celebrating.
What has happened?
I will be the first to admit, we in the military hate parades. Think about all the hurry up and wait, and the standing on a parade field for what seems like an eternity. However, there is nothing better than doing the infamous “pass in review” and watching the eyes of the young boys and girls, especially on American Independence Day when they wave flags and cheer. Because as you march by you realize that you are the legacy of that which was established back in 1775, an Army, a Navy, a Marine Corps – forces that stood up to defend what was just to exist, American independence. And as part of that modern legacy, your service, sacrifice, commitment, and discipline will inspire a new generation that will, as has been done over the past 243 years, defend our American independence.
If there should be one day when political differences are cast aside, it is American Independence Day, but that is not what happened last week. When 911 happened, the enemy of our American independence did not try to delineate between constitutional conservatives and progressive socialists. Their intent was to kill Americans.
And what stands between them being able to EVER do that again? That which stood on the Mall in Washington, D.C. on American Independence Day – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
Presidents come and go … let’s pray that the defenders of our principles, ideals, and way of life never do.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias. Mr. West also writes daily commentary on his personal website theoldschoolpatriot.com.