Be brave my friends. No one ever said this would be easy. No one ever promised a life free of worry or challenge. We get this one chance to live here and it's up to each of us how we spend our allotted time. In spite of all that has been done to us and what we see and fear that is just over the horizon our fates are still in our hands.
We are neither murderers nor criminals. We are not responsible for anything more than the desire to protect ourselves, the ones we love and indeed society as a whole. To exercise our God given liberties and to pursue Life, Liberty and Happiness as we see fit. There is no need nor place for guilt. We haven't committed evil nor have we embraced it. We have lived our lives as well as we can and ask for no more than the chance to live as free people.
We shed tears when we see evil committed but we also bear the burdens of our knowledge, intelligence, experience and what wisdom each of us carries. That means sometimes we must see reality for what it is and our our countrymen for what they are. We must be courageous enough to recognize the fight and not flinch no matter how afraid we are or how badly we want things to return to the usual and comfortable. Tears are expected and honorable but they must never blind us.
We aren't in love with our tools no matter what some may say. The fear mongers are among us and they will do or say anything to convince us to surrender and that we must never do. There can be no doubt that our very liberties are under attack and the future of our children at stake. To that there can only ever be one answer.
We are the arbiters of our fate. We are those governed by our own consent. We cannot be enslaved, we can only surrender our birthright and so doom our descendants. By our own choice. If we fight the most we can lose is our lives. If we surrender we will have lost our very souls.
It is a bitter time. Sadness and grief loom. But there is also love in the world. We fight not for things or power or comfort. We do battle for honor and freedom. For goodness and light. For our loved ones. Because what is life without them? Ours is not the fight of conquest but of defense and there is no guilt attached. It is the good fight. It is the right thing to do.
But it takes courage. The will to face down those who would condemn us for the actions of those we have no control over. The fidelity to stand our posts in the face of overwhelming enmity. We know what is right and what is wrong. We need only the courage of our convictions and our indomitable will to face our challenges head on. We are not the aggressors, we are the defenders. Of liberty. Of truth. Of America.
But we must set aside our fear and our trepidation. We must don our whole armor and move into the arena of battle because it's for damn sure those who would dominate us are there already and have even now begun the sack. Put away the feelings of guilt because you do not deserve them and they can only be forced on you if you accept. Be courageous and Fight. Fight for what you believe in, for your freedom, for those you love.
We must find our inspiration where we can. With family, and friends. With the memory of those who came before and have left us. Lu and I remember the birth of a beloved dog who came into our lives on this day 16 years ago. We remember a brother who was lost to us many years ago in a place called Iraq. We remind ourselves that we have a daughter and grandchildren who need our strength. We hold each other tight and shed tears of love and loss. Then we find the ember of our courage and fan it into the flame of determination. And so we go on, one foot after the other and place our faith in God and each other. The bonds of love are so much stronger than any chains forged by hate.
Life is worth living in spite of a hard road. Perhaps even because of it. The ride may be perilous, full of danger and uncertainty, but the companions and joys we find along the way make the journey sweeter than honey.
The fight for our liberty is far from certain but one thing is. The battle for our future is here. Now. Freedom needs every hand, every heart and every mind working as one toward the preservation of all we hold dear lest we lose it and fade into the annals of history. Unmarked except with contempt. Losing means the end of America The Free, perhaps forever. The blood of our forefathers, shed on every continent in this world, cries out to us to rise in her defense and we are honor bound answer that call.
Remember who and what you love. Smile and laugh and live. Eat and play and enjoy. Never forget who you are. Never despair and never surrender. Never hate but never back down. Dare those who hate you to step up and take their best shot. Take to the fight with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Life is a gift, live it as joyfully as you can.
Don't let the bastards get you down. I love you all my friends. I'll see you on the trail.