Peace Eternal In A Nation United – 150th Commemoration Gettysburg“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address 1836
As our political leaders contemplate injecting our nation into yet another war, this time a civil war in Syria, it is important to remind our representatives that the decisions they make in office are to reflect our laws and the will of the people. It is ours to decide if we support the cause of Syria’s rebels so vehemently that we choose to send the support of our military. We are, after all, as Lincoln said, “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”. No greater reminder of that can be found than by visiting memorials of our fallen soldiers.
According to Judge Andrew Napolitano in an interview on The Blaze Network, in order for the United States military to legally get involved in a foreign war, based on treaties the United States has signed and international laws that the United States has agreed to, there is criteria that must be met. The lists of circumstances that Napolitano outlined were:
1) “When we’ve been attacked. Hasn’t happened, we haven’t been attacked by Syria.”
2) “When we are about to be attacked. When the enemy’s at the gates, we don’t have to wait for them to fire the first bullet. When an attack is imminent… Not the case with Syria.”
3) “When we’ve been invited into the country of an ally that’s been attacked…Doesn’t apply for Syria.”
4) “When a country has violated an international norm to which it has agreed, and the U.N. has authorized us to do it.”
It is arguable that the use of chemical weapons is outside the scope of what would be considered international norm; however, as Napolitano explained in the interview, Syria is one of the few countries that did not sign a UN agreement promising they would not use chemical weapons.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg in our own civil war. My family was in attendance for that anniversary, to revisit the battleground and to pay tribute to the sacrifices made.
As we walked the grounds, once blood saturated in war, my family and I read historical
markers and tried to envision the events as they unfolded. With re-enactors setting up camp, images of an earlier time were easily summoned to our imaginations. Leaning on old cannons, hot from the summer sun and smooth from age, I looked out over grassy fields in the direction the cannons were pointed and realized that these weapons once shot at fellow Americans.
|Cannonade near Louisiana Memorial|
I can only begin to imagine the terror that must have been felt knowing that this foe was not some unknown enemy from a distant land, but quite possibly a brother, neighbor or friend that was charging in for hand to hand combat. Both sides believed they were right, both sides tried to defend their families, and both were willing to die for the cause that their children could live as they believed.
Reading the words on the memorials was heartwrenching. They were words of hope, peace, and promise cut deeply into the stone. Written from voices spoken with an obvious knowledge of the agony of loss, each memorial was filled with the hope that this country would never again take up arms against each other, but would understand the true value of unity. Some promising peace, and others acknowledging the devastation of war, memorials compelled the onlookers not to forget the lives lost and the convictions so passionately held. Each soldier counted, and remembered, families wandered the grounds searching for evidence of loved ones past.
That hope of unity, and the desire for it, has largely waned in America. Our country seems ever more divided with each passing year. Daily, news reports reveal ways our Constitutional rights have been violated by our own government, with no consequence or accountability imposed. The Bill of Rights reads like a list of priorities government overreach must nullify. The citizenry of the US has been required to swallow hard on violation after violation.
While America still waits for soldiers to come home from other wars, our nation has been entangled in, we find ourselves poised to engage in yet another conflict abroad. I am forced to wonder if America will ever be allowed to live in peace and unity.
For all of our investment of sons and daughters on the battlefield, and funds and supplies of
war, it is crucial to weigh if our commitment to intervene is worth not only the taking of lives, but the giving of our own. Does our country believe so passionately in the cause of Syria’s civil conflict, that we will put our children on the front lines of battle? If America is not willing to commit to that end, we must not begin.
|Louisiana Memorial - flowers courtesy Destrahan High School|
The United States of America is still a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. The blood that has hallowed our grounds that we may live in freedom and have control of our own government, must never be forgotten. The call to war is ours as nation to rise up to, not that of those in high office who have an ego to protect. Our president does not don the uniform of military personnel. He is not a dictator. Our freedom has been paid for generationally by those who have laid down their lives that we may remain free. Let that not be in vain.