Last week I had the honor of attending a ceremony for a friend being inducted into the Order of Saint Maurice. The Order is a prestigious award given by the National Infantry Association to recipients who “have demonstrated a significant contribution in support of the Infantry; and must represent the highest standards of integrity, moral character, professional competence, and dedication to duty.”
From the ceremony’s program:
St. Maurice was Primicerius of the Theban Legion, a Roman Army Unit composed completely of Christians recruited in Egypt. In 287 A.D. the legion marched in the service of the Roman Empire, fighting against the revolt of the Berguadea Gauls. While performing service under Augustus Maximian Hercules, Maurice was ordered to offer pagan sacrifices before a battle near the river Rhone-a-Martigny. The Theban Legion refused to participate and withdrew to the town of Agaunurn (Saint Maurice-en-Valais). They also refused to kill innocent civilians in the conduct of their duty as ordered by Maximian. Enraged, Maximian ordered “decimation” of the Legion—every tenth man to be executed.
A second time Maximian ordered Maurice’s men to participate in pagan rites. Again the Legion refused to participate. Maximian ordered a second decimation. Maurice declared his earnest desire to obey every other order lawful in the eyes of God. His men replied, “We have seen our comrades killed. Rather than sorrow, we rejoice at the honor done to them.” Infuriated. Maximian ordered the complete annihilation of the Theban Legion and their commander, Maurice.
Maurice has long been recognized by both the French and Italian Armies with an Order of Saint Maurice, presented to Infantrymen for significant feats or accomplishments. The church subsequently recognized Maurice as a “saint” for his perseverance to his Christian beliefs.
After the ceremony, we got together at a local watering hole and told stories as old friends and former soldiers do. I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman with whom my friend has worked and become acquainted. We instantly bonded in a way that only old warriors do. At the heart of our discussion was the idea that the American warrior, although not appreciated or elevated by society, was still among us and needed encouragement.
We agreed that our current culture and society does not promote the warrior spirit nor does it embrace it. Even so, there is still a latent warrior tendency amongst some men albeit in decreasing numbers.
Minus my friend’s uniform, one would not have necessarily distinguished this gathering from a group celebrating a birthday party or anniversary. Too often, real warriors are misrepresented by tough acting imposters who are more predators than protectors.
In my opinion, real warriors are quiet heroes like my friend. They go about their business professionally and are indistinguishable from the rest of society if they are good at their trade. They do not look for a fight, but if you pay attention, you will notice that they are always on guard against the predators with a nose to the wind and eyes on the horizon. It is their natural tendency to move to the sound of the guns. They keep their tools sharp and remain proficient in their use.
American society and culture has discouraged and muted the warrior spirit. One needs to look no further than Native Americans whose once proud warrior culture has succumbed to pacification just like the rest of the country. Our armed forces have been inundated with leftist ideology and experimentation that has hampered our ability to deliver the fight. Our churches have become wussified and a Black Robe Regiment of today would likely be squad or at best platoon sized.
In any given church next Sunday, you’re more likely to see a tennis shoes wearing wimp preach a message on pedicures and loving one another than a warrior preaching on why this nation is going to Hell and motivating his congregation to action. Pastors and congregations today are more afraid of lawsuits or losing parishioners than they are of God’s judgment on mankind. It’s time that American pastors turn in their guitars and sing-along garbage for some guns and a backbone. We need more St. Maurices and less St. Marys.
I have a deep admiration for my friend and others like him that I have had the distinct fortune to know. There are still warriors among us. Cheers to the warrior spirit. May it never be vanquished.
Image: Fontaine de St-Maurice ou du Guerrier romain, Delémont; author: Pelerin; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license