Saturday, July 5, 2008
"Gentlemen cry peace, peace, but there is no peace, the war is already begun!" -Patrick Henry, 1775
July Fourth is here. I know that to a lot of people, Americans, all it means is fireworks in a night sky, barbecues and roasting meat, hot summer days and cool beers. For too many people it's just a holiday, an extra day off from work where they get to wear red, white, and blue. If they are feeling particularly patriotic, they may whisper to their children, "This is the day America became free."
I don't wear red, white and blue, and I don't wave paper flags. Sometimes I don't even have a celebration. The Founding Fathers certainly had no celebration, tucked away as they were, rebelling from a distance, the certain underdog against England's might. No, how I choose to commemorate July Fourth is by recommitting myself to living by the ideals which were blazed that day.
I think of a handful of men, who gathered together despite a repressive occupation, who joined their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" to combat injustice. Men who decided that it was intolerable to accept abuses without standing up against them.
Men who dared.
Men who lost everything, in many cases up to and including their lives, that a nation might be born which would live for a thousand years in freedom and justice.
I think back to those bold men, whose deeds blazed across the sky. I think of how I can possibly live up to what they asked of themselves, to what they asked to those who might follow in their footsteps. To the dreams they held and battled the darkness for.
And I remember what I am.
I am an active duty soldier, who sees a duty to the country I love, the country birthed so many years ago to be a just and righteous nation, where each and every citizen would have the right to petition for redress of grievances, and to print whatever they pleased about their government. I see a duty to all those who have died for these ideals - everyone whose red blood was shed to give our flag its color, who dreamed that generation after generation, patriots would always stand ready to answer America's call.
What a low, shivering thing would I be, if I saw the truth, that America is wasting its soldiers, breaking its military, and destroying its economy, all in the name of the interests of a few, and I did not stand up! If I did not stand up for fear, or a wish to preserve my comfort. If I did not stand up for fear of reprisal, or imprisonment-how those Founding Fathers would be ashamed!
I would like to think that if they saw me here, now, along with the ranks of the rest of our active duty soldiers who are standing up against this injustice, they would be proud. Would be proud of the spirit that still stands strong in America. Why stand the rest of you silent? The war is already begun! Not just the war in Iraq, but the war here at home, to wake a complacent citizenry to action! The time for sitting at home and thinking hopeful thoughts is over! This July Fourth, and every day until the troops are home and treated like the country which has used the best and brightest in them owes, I swear to act!
Join with me. Join with us. We, the active duty IVAW members, and even those who are against the war but do not yet know they can be with us, are waiting.
Sergeant Selena Coppa
"In accordance with AR 360-1, the opinions expressed in this statement are those of the individual and do not reflect the official positions or policies of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Government."