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An explanation

May 26, 2019

regarding my previous post is perhaps in order.

On a cool, fall day in Wilmington, North Carolina that I can remember vividly, but which to many people was long ago, I stood before a United States Coast Guard recruiter, raised my right hand, and took my very first military oath. I can still remember it.

“I, __________, do solemnly swear  that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States 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 took it again when I enlisted in the Navy. Later, when the Navy lost its collective mind and chose to make me an officer, I took another one.

“I, __________, having been appointed an ensign in the United States Navy, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

I was very serious about the oaths when I took them. Because of circumstances, choices I made about the direction I wanted my career to take, and frankly some dumb luck, I was seldom in situations in which I would have to pay the ultimate price to fulfill my oath. When I was, rarely, in such situations, I emerged virtually unscathed (more dumb luck, perhaps?). However…

I had the honor of

  • following in the footsteps of
  • serving with
  • mentoring

other people who also took seriously their oaths of enlistment and/or commissioning who did pay that ultimate price in the fulfillment of their oath(s). They were and are, to the last person, better people, in my mind, than anyone who would suggest sacrificing one of our rights if only other people would sacrifice some of theirs. I cannot explain the anger I feel when I encounter questions like that.  To encounter that question on Memorial Day Weekend? Not good. Those men and women died in service to a nation and document, to an idea, that some are apparently willing to toss away all so lightly. I do not apologize for my response, but I thought it needed some context.

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2 Comments
  1. OldNFO permalink

    Well said, and no four letter words, which would have peppered my response… Thank you.

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