Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Americans Have Died to Make Sure Days Like Today Happen Routinely

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives." So said John Adams in 1808.

In a speech to a Tea Party rally in Omaha Saturday, Larry Cahill quoted those words from Adams in remembering his son, Joel, who was killed in 2005 by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq.

Larry said he once was asked if it was worth it, the sacrifice his son had made for his country. Larry said it depends on how the life of the nation evolves. Are we keeping the republic in good condition, as Benjamin Franklin warned would be challenging? Or are we letting it degrade?

While Mr. Cahill spoke of his son's ultimate sacrifice, I thought of the scene in Saving Private Ryan when the Tom Hanks character, Captain Miller, grabs the Matt Damon character, Private Ryan, by the front of his shirt and pulls him face-to-face and, just before he dies, says, "Earn this." Earn the sacrifices of the half-dozen or so men who died saving you.

I was thinking while Mr. Cahill spoke that the fictional scene in the movie is reality for us. We must earn what Joel Cahill and others have died to preserve -- the opportunity to live a free and prosperous life. As Adams noted, we must keep earning it over and over throughout our lives.

It's election day. Vote as if you are earning the right to enjoy the kind of life that Joel Cahill and others paid the ultimate price to guarantee.

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