Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Founding Veterans

I had grand ambitions of a Veterans Day post, but the day is upon us and I have composed nothing yet…

Let me take this opportunity to comment upon a dispute that springs up every 4th of July, which I think might better be pondered on November 11th: the paucity of signers of the DoI who were captured by the British and charged specifically with treason for having signed the DoI.

This is brought up to “debunk” Independence Day chain emails reminding us of the price that the founders paid, by pointing out that (supposedly) they didn’t pay the various prices claimed (consequences of various sorts, whether destruction of property or loss of life) as an exclusive consequence of signing the DoI. Instead, they engaged in military combat and other treasonous activities, in the context of which they were captured and treated as prisoners, so they didn’t “pay the price” for their role in our founding.

Hogwash, specifically factually true but irrelevant. We should be more respectful of the sacrifices of our founders, not less respectful, due to their backing up their words with action, demonstrating that they meant it when they wrote “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”. Imagine how we would feel about the founders if, having declared independence, they then took no further action, just waiting for others to make something happen.

Furthermore, the one example “conceded” by the debunkers, that of Richard Stockton, isn’t as pure as the debunkers would have us believe. Though not in uniform, Stockton was on a military reconnaissance mission in the service of Congress when arrested, so even he was more than a man of mere words. His bio can be found at this link:


The relevance of all of this is that as we remember the sacrifices of our veterans this Nov 11, and every Veterans Day, let us remember that a big part of our reverence for the founders is due to, rather than mitigated by, their following up the DoI with practical action to seize independence. Though not all serving in uniform, they were in a very real sense our first cohort of veterans, and thank God for that.


Ed Darrell said...

We might do well to ponder what Athens did to Themistocles after he devised, built and commanded the navy that dispatched Xerxes back to Persia, saving Athens.

And then, as Santayana would have it, we should not go there.

Phil Johnson said...

When I go to the V.A. for my regular check ups, it never ceases to impress me that so many veterans have paid such an awful price.
I have greatly benefited from my time in the service. Among other things I have excellent medical care--much better than any non-veterans I know. And, all I did was join up and serve an uneventful couple of years.
But, so many experienced so much and carry and will carry the scars for the rest of their life. So many are addicted to drugs and 20 percent of veterans from the Middle East wars are unemployed. You cannot see the carnage of war and not have it affect your mind.
If you are not a veteran, take the time to go to a V.A. facility near you and sit in the lobby for a couple of hours. You will see a small amount of the pain.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I wonder what my old friend Mr. Darrell means with his reference to Themistocles. He was a visionary or a corrupt monomaniac, depending on who you believe.

As of 2007, the unemployment rates for vets was about the same as for non-vets, depending on age. This is a good thing.


Thx to all our vets, and to those in uniform at this moment, Kristo.

Jonathan Rowe said...

"Thx to all our vets, and to those in uniform at this moment, Kristo."


Brian Tubbs said...

Good post, Kristo!

Thanks to all our veterans - past and present.