PATRIOTS SERVING: ‘Cause Somebody’s Gotta Do It

Written by Steve Pauwels on November 10, 2014

Last week, I performed the funeral for a ninety-six year old Army Air Corps veteran. As I drove to the cemetery, the radio was subjecting me to one of the nation’s conservative, talk-Bigs gloomily bleating on about the possibility of his son’s serving in Obama’s military. His sentiments echoed those of another conservative talker who’d recently, even more unbudgingly, pledged “Not my son!” to the notion of  swearing in under this president. It’s blather which especially strikes home for me —  irksomely so — since I have two boys previously or presently under arms beneath this current Commander In Chief. 

Minutes later, I couldn’t help but, lump-in-my-throat, reflect on these commentators’ words as military honors were movingly rendered for the old-timer I was helping lay to rest. The flag was gravely folded, salutes solemnly hoisted, Taps plaintively sounded across the leaf-strewn graveyard — all performed in relative security provided, in part, by the deceased’s sacrificial efforts some seventy years ago; and by the vigilant watchmanship of military men and women manning America’s barricades around the world today.

Whatever the woebegone state of our State — and rest assured, it is woebegone — these opinionators’ anti-Obama kvetching  has been enabled, in significant measure, by somebody’s son’s lugging a rifle, or shouldering a rucksack, or standing sentry stateside or abroad for centuries. 

So our CINC stinks! — last time I checked, the global condition of things still demands America maintain her armed forces — locked and loaded. Somewhere, somehow patriots have to step up and guarantee that happens.

Just not the overprotected scions of Old-Glory-waving spokesmen?

Meanwhile, as already mentioned, this particularly chaps me. Not many years ago, my oldest returned from two tours in the Iraq theater, not in the best of emotional shape. Thank God, he’s fine today, earning a living helping needy veterans — but it took him a couple of years to regroup and get back on his feet. 

My middle Marine, more recently, made his way safely back from Afghanistan short weeks ago (again, thank God!). 

They both sweated — or shivered — in war zones, far from home, so someone else’s child didn’t need to. 

Why bother extending veterans — even “mere” enlisted or non-com “nobodies” known only to loved ones — special recognition throughout their lives, even at its end? Maybe because they’ve incontestably earned it. 

Don’t take my lonely word for it. Generations of US citizens/residents have consistently agreed to full-throatedly honor those who’ve worn the uniform: there’s Armed Forces Day (mid/late May), Veterans Day (November 11), Memorial Day (last Monday of May); welcome-home parades unnumbered, patriotic bands blaring, red-white-and-blue bunting shining. 

No less a source than Holy Writ tips its hat to military service — forcefully implying the government’s “sword” represents an expression of “ministry” ordained by God Himself for the civilized operation of human societies (Romans 13:1-5). Not many — other than God-hating secularist Liberals and, lately, Ann Coulter — crankily dismiss conventional, globe-trotting missionaries who venture to distant shores helping others. Yet, the Scriptures suggest men and women who serve martially under State authority play a noble and essential “ministry” roll, as well; part of the Creator’s plan. Is it possible the mandate to “go into all the world” could apply, in certain measure at least, to those righteously giving their time, their talents, their lives to defend their country’s interests wherever these need defending? 

Arguably, Barack Obama in the White House should be a pressing reason responsible people do step up and take their place in our armed services. If they don’t, mind you, somebody else surely will. Who’s going to assume those posts, preserving the decency and integrity of this vital aspect of our civilization? An Obama-blighted military will only become less laudatory, more corroded if its personnel is reduced to battalions of the likes of Bradley (“Chelsea”)Manning, Nidal Hasan and Bowe Bergdahl

mil honorsA century-and-a-half ago, well-meaning but misguided pietists decided Christians ought not “muddy” their souls with political involvement. Their separatist convictions came, materially, to prevail in the church in general as believers expandingly ditched civic involvement. 

How’s that turned out for the United States? The “godliness” vacuum created in the political realm by good people sequestering themselves has reaped a whirlwind for the land. 

Jesus exhorted His followers to be “salt and light” in the world — preservers, illuminators. Now some are contending virtuous, country-cherishing folks should bail on that charge as regards the precincts of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Reserve Units, as well? Merely because they deem our Commander in Chief untrustworthy? 

Hardly the embodiment of patriotic wisdom.

Devout Bible-believer, pseudo-pacifist and reluctant World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack which reaped  thirty-two German machine guns, twenty-eight enemy kills, and 132 captures. When a foul-mouthed commanding officer probed him about how he’d managed his exploits, the shy Tennessee sharp-shooter framed it this way: “Sir, it is not man power. A higher power than man power guided and watched over me and told me what to do.” 

Once more, there’s something exceptionally galling about vocally pro-American, pro-military luminaries who, essentially, concede that, in the crunch, someone else — someone else’s kid — needs furnish the indispensable human capital without which our nation’s martial shield will unceremoniously evaporate. While blabbing up our service men and women, they’re operationally nudging other moms and dads, and potential warriors, to take a powder on contributing personally toward safeguarding America.

George Orwell didn’t actually say it, but I wish he had; succinct, pungent, spot on: “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” 

Islamic villains lustfully contemplate America’s demise, Liberals are subjecting her military’s effectiveness and prestige to death-by-a-thousand-cuts, the country, in so many ways, is sinking into hell — but certain theatrically God-and-country-loving spokesmen can console themselves that their children never served under Barack Obama as disaster was transpiring all around them; with Taps playing dolefully elsewhere, for others.


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Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.