Monday, November 9, 2009
There was a time that many Americans do not remember and cannot relate to in these current times. However, it is a time that we should reflect upon as we begin a special week.
With the tragedy of Ft. Hood fresh on our minds and Veterans' Day approaching later this week, we will be reminded (and rightfully so) of the sacrifices that our military men and women make daily in order to keep America safe. We will hear about the risks that they make regularly - risks that are often the difference between being sub par, being status quo, or being great.
Today - November 9 - marks another day when American dedication to being great mattered enough to take that risk. The world, in many ways, is better as a result.
Just as the defenders of the wars overseas are being told that it is an impossible task to take on - and thus no need for us to continue the endeavor any further - there were a similar lot of people telling us for years that the way to protect America is not through the staunch build-up of military might against the Soviet Union. Diplomacy - and even compromise with the communist imperialists - was the best way to keep America safe from the Russian threat and keep us away from the real possibilities of nuclear war. Despite watching the developments of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s, there were plenty that felt that the Cold War was an impossible endeavor to win, one that only stole money away from the domestic agenda while failing to improve the nation internally and keep her safer globally.
President Ronald Reagan disagreed - and took a military risk. He challenged the nerve of a mighty nation that leveraged communism to pursue its agenda of global domination and inhibitions to capitalism and freedom based on its twisted view of society.
And yes, it was a risk, although many of us not old enough to remember "fall out shelters" at schools across the country or recall the tensions of US-USSR relations and its intrigue with spy espionage. There was a years-pursued passion to win "an impossible war" in order to keep the freedom espoused by the United States of America intact throughout the world. Just as it takes our proud countrywomen and men to have nerves of steel in order to face death and separation from family daily in order to be historic in the face of adversity and controversy, it took vision to face the task of ending the Cold War and writing a historic chapter in our era with a happy ending that reunited families, ended a nuclear threat, and brought peace where most thought it would never reside.
President Reagan and his allies had the nerve and the vision to look ahead and see a world where the Wall would fall. We look back today from that world to see it tumble once again to remind us of the power of persistence.
And as we tackle the wall of our times - terroristic extremism - it is important for us to note that these battles take nerve to take risks, and even with history and morality on our side, it does take time. It took mere months to build the Berlin Wall, a physical and mental structure that stood for decades. It took nearly as long for that wall to come down, crashing at the feet of those willing to hammer away bit-by-bit. Just the same, we must continue to support our troops as they work with history and righteousness on their sides so that they can make good decisions, project the best of America with each action they do on our behalf, and face tough choices with honor and courage.
After all, if they are risking their lives to keep America great, we must risk to be personally greatness when fatigue, trends, and fear persuade us otherwise.