Two words. It all started with two words. “I do.” This simple pledge offered from patriot lips in response to the call from a nation, a call that reads like this:
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
“I do.” With those two words comprised of only three letters, irresistible resolve is cast. Unshakable courage is unleashed. Incredible valor rises in response to unimaginable pressure.
Boots pound through surf under withering fire. Naked cliffs are scaled into the face of brute resistance. Men leap willingly out of airplanes to float down through the air into certain peril.
With those two words, sailors crew ships pitching through rough seas, exchanging deafening salvos with an enemy many miles away. Submariners endure the terror of concussive shock waves as depth charges attempt to keep them undersea for perpetuity.
Miles above the earth, those two words are the soul beacon that compels airmen to fly into the shredding teeth of enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire, knowing that one hit can result in a 6-mile fiery plummet to oblivion.
“I do.” It signifies acceptance of a mission and purpose greater than the oath-taker. And yet, it is only in the individual upholding of every oath that the overarching purpose is sustained and ultimately accomplished.
This is the beauty and glory of America, that the collective peace and security of this mighty nation is entrusted to those who willingly choose to commit their lives to its protection. Even if the cost includes their lives.
Therefore, will we who have not taken that oath choose to be a people who will never forget their sacrifice, who will make every effort to support them at home and abroad, look after their families, and most importantly, remember to honor them for their willingness to train, fight and stand guard over our freedoms in a hostile world?
I do…….So help me, God.