“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.”
That is the oath that every Marine, soldier, sailor, and airman must take when volunteering to serve in our Armed Forces. It is an oath of commitment to our Constitution and to the American way of life. It is also an acceptance of personal sacrifice for something greater than themselves: the security of our nation. Our fighting men and women leave their families and sacrifice their civilian jobs. They sacrifice their comfort. They sacrifice their blood. Some even sacrifice their lives in order to guarantee the continuation of our American way of life and the peace of the world.
Throughout history American men and women have answered the call to help our nation overcome the challenges placed before it. Revolutionaries answered the call and fought to free our nation from a tyrannical monarch; the Navy and Marines of our fledgling nation answered the call to defeat the Barbary Pirates of the Mediterranean and opened the seas to commerce so that all nations might benefit; Americans answered the call to keep this nation whole and to free the oppressed during our Civil War; the generation of my Grandparents answered the call to liberate Europe from a dictator and opened the door to democracy for most of the world; the generation of my parents answered the call to defeat communism during the Cold War and opened that door a little wider so that even more nations could be free; and now, my generation has answered the call to defeat terrorism and to eradicate its form of tyranny from our planet once and for all.
We are here today living in freedom because of the ultimate sacrifices of remarkable men and women throughout the history of our nation. Courageous service members left their families, they gave up their jobs, and they paid for our freedom with their sacrifice. May God bless their families and strengthen them and may He continue to bless the United States of America.