Posts Tagged ‘U. S. History’




What it Means to be a Patriot


I came from a non-military family, so when I married an Air Force Officer, I was in for a bit of culture shock. For starters, I had to learn the “alphabet soup” lingo the military uses to describe just about everything. I can now tell you that FOD isn’t good around aircraft engines, that it’s good to know what your BAQ is before you PCS, and that when the ADM is TDY life is rough for the NMS, too. (Translations: Foreign Object Defects aren’t good around aircraft engines. It’s good to know what your Basic Allowance for Quarters is before you make a Permanent Change of Station move, and when the Active Duty Member is Temporary Duty life is rough for the Non-Military Spouse, too.) rem: LOL Through our experience with those who sacrifice to protect and defend the Constitution, I have gained a unique perspective on what it means to be a patriot.

I was shocked, for example, to learn that only about 0.4% of Americans make up our active duty military. That’s 4 people volunteering to pay the price for every thousand who enjoy freedom. I’m a writer, so my mind jumped to a writing comparison. This article is about 1000 words long, and 0.4% of those words would be “I came from a…” That’s not much to go on, is it?

But is it enough?

The answer might be “Obviously” or “Yes, as long as we’re not at war,” but we ARE at war. Most citizens forget that. It’s one of the luxuries of being part of the other 99.6%.

In saying that we are currently defended by only 0.4% of our citizens, it is also worth noting that 7.3% of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives. Slightly over 1% of women and over 13% of men are trained defenders—”sheepdogs”—and most of them would gladly stand in the gap again if the need arose.

At its highest the military was made up of 9% of Americans during World War II. Still, less than one tenth went “over there” after we were attacked on our own soil, yet this “bravest generation” tipped the odds in favor of our European Allies. A popular song of the era promised, “We won’t come back ’til it’s over over there.” Americans kept that promise, defending the freedom of others until every enemy was vanquished.

As a child, I always pictured almost every able-bodied citizen fighting for freedom during the American Revolution. How else could the sparsely populated colonies ever have stood up to the well-trained and well-funded British Army otherwise? While it’s true that almost every freedom-minded citizen joined the militia during the first frenzied fighting, others opposed the revolution. In the end only about 6.5% of the American population participated in the Revolution of 1776 on a regular basis.

So few did so much!

What am I saying? That it’s perfectly fine for the majority of us to sit at home—fat, dumb, and happy as sheep grazing on a hillside—while a few valiant souls defend our comfortable way of life?

Not at all…but neither am I saying that we shall all perish unless the majority “wake up,” as so many pundits on both sides insist. We’ve never required the majority of our population to join the military. I find it very encouraging to observe what a few passionate souls can accomplish even though vastly outnumbered. Think of it! For every six who fought alongside George Washington for our liberty, 94 stayed home beside their cozy fires. I do wonder a bit how their consciences allowed them to sleep in comfort while other men defended their homes and families, but I know with certainty that the heartfelt efforts of a relative few are more effective than a fair-weather crowd of thousands with only lukewarm conviction. These vigilant defenders deserve our admiration and gratitude.

Does that mean those of us who are not in the military cannot be guardians of liberty? Certainly not! There are many ways to show patriotism.

We are patriots when we remember and understand what others have sacrificed and died to provide for us. They died for liberty—the God-given rights of men to direct their lives without limits set by other men. Liberty is different from license, which is the permission men grant themselves to do as they like without regard for other men and with no thought of God. License is self-centered. No one died so that we could live raucously. When I remember that people died to give me liberty, I think of the closing lines of Saving Private Ryan: “I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.”

We are patriots when we read and study the Constitution others have fought to protect and defend, because it is the document that defines our liberty under God. The Constitution doesn’t grant us rights. God did that. The Constitution is merely a formal recognition of the rights God gave each of us. If we don’t know what our rights are, we won’t even notice if someone takes them away. If there’s something the majority of citizens should “wake up” to, this is it. rem: emphasis mine. The Constitution with all its signatures and amendments contains less than eight thousand words, making it about the length of a short story or article you’d read in a magazine. Surprised? I was! It fits easily into a pamphlet and can be read in less than an hour. Have you read it? The way I look at it, the Bible contains the gift Jesus died to give me, and the Constitution contains the gift our forefathers died to give me. One is the foundation of  my spiritual freedom, and the other lays the foundation for my political freedom. I figure it would be a good idea to be well acquainted with both!

We don’t all necessarily have to volunteer for the military and serve on foreign fronts to be true patriots, but patriotism is much more than baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and fireworks. Patriotism is caring passionately about our history and our culture and tending to the things that matter—the things that made us great, and the things that make us good. Remember, and live deliberately.





Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.






#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Dean, Patriot, U. S. History


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