"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling is much worse. The person who has nothing for which they are willing to fight, nothing which is more important than their own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill
I memorized this quotation as a basic cadet at the Air Force Academy. Thirty-seven years later, I still remember it word for word. I learned that you'd never be alive if you don't know what you're willing to die for. And if the only thing you're ready to fight for is your own hide, you’ll be a miserable creature indeed.
Today, we celebrate those men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice so that we, and countless others across the globe, can live in freedom. Freedom, life, and liberty are bought with a price. That price is courage, service, and sacrifice.
I thank God for those who took an oath to God to support our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Our Constitution is the most important document ever written by man. And it is what our fighting men and women vow to support, with their very lifeblood.
Our Constitution is what defines our Country. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. Shred it and tear it apart, and you have no nation. Raise generations who have no core values to a higher collective, and you raise a legion of thumb suckers who value self over service.
We are not perfect; no nation is. But my father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, always said, "I could write a book about what's wrong with America, but I could write a library about what's right with America." So today, may we remember and honor those who believed the same and lived these convictions through their supreme sacrifice. And may we all fall deeper in love with this beautiful Country as we collectively seek to make her stronger and not tear her apart. Let us stop the decay and degradation.