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May 26, 2022

This Memorial Day may be a good time for Americans to ask ourselves: Do we still deserve our freedom? I’m not talking about our slumping economy nor even descrying our media’s unblinking distortion of issues from our porous southern border to the perfidy of Hillary Clinton. But today we are seeing the tumultuous confluence of two basic decisions reached nearly 50 years ago: the “right” of abortion decided by Roe v Wade in 1973; and the adoption of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) in 1974. While each choice was made separately, their protagonists could hardly have imagined how those separate choices would evolve to create twin challenges to our way of life.  

 Barely a year apart, two fundamental norms of American life had changed. The right of an unborn infant to live was now outweighed by the right of the mother to choose life or death for her baby. The historical obligation of the American citizen for wartime service had also changed, now becoming a career choice like pursuing orthodontics or agri-business. The rationales were correspondingly different. Abortion, whether or not guaranteed by the Constitution, needed to be safe and legal; the Vietnam-era draft simply needed to end. Fifty years later, we have an expensive, professional military in which less than half of one (>0.5) percent of Americans defend the other 99%. The death toll since Roe v Wade: at least 60 million infants although no one knows for sure.

As one of the last draftees, my reprieve came too late. But ten years into the AVF experiment, I served on the West Point faculty, once moderating a campus-wide debate on the role of women, The contending advocates: conservative doyenne Phyllis Schlafly versus Sarah Weddington, victorious counsel in Roe V. Wade. Even in West Point’s disciplined environment, the debate was a raucous affair; but at least our cadets witnessed the emotions and intricacies of the constitutional process they would soon defend.

 But for me that argument was settled forever the next year, when our newly adopted 4-day-old daughter wrapped her entire hand around my little finger. I was thankful beyond words that her birth mother, finding herself “in trouble,” decided to protect this new life, choosing to set aside every lesser consideration.  Thirty years later, a father’s emotions still run strong looking into her eyes and each of my three grand-sons!

Meanwhile, the Army kept getting smaller, post-Cold War reductions leaving the active force with a half-million soldiers. But then came the shock of 9/11. The voluminous memoirs of President George W. Bush, his vice-president, and his secretaries of State and Defense reveal a stunning omission: None of them apparently asked whether the AVF could sustain a long conflict. Rather than mobilizing the nation for war, the National Guard and Reserves were dragooned for extended overseas tours. Ordinary Americans were encouraged to return to the shopping malls or college campuses. “So your kid goes to Kandahar while mine goes to Yale. So what’s your point?”   

With the War on Terror dragging  on for almost 20 years, manpower became even more scarce and expensive. Meeting combat requirements meant sending the troops back for multiple combat tours to various hell-holes. Not only were our soldiers running exponential risks of PTSD, but they were also becoming increasingly isolated from American society as a segregated warrior caste. And what happened when these Other People’s Kids returned home as veterans? Although the Veterans Administration is unsure of the exact numbers, they estimate that 17-20 veterans commit suicide each day.·

As you may have noticed, the United States is now involved in two separate Cold Wars but is seriously outmanned in each. (Air Force pilots describe this condition as “discovering you’re out of airspeed, altitude and ideas.”) Making matters even worse are our internal contradictions, voices from the left made even more strident by the prospect that Roe v Wade may be reversed. Listening to them, one ponders our national responsibility for the Holocaust of the Unborn, those Other People’s Kids now being aborted.

As I write these words, my friends and neighbors in Uvalde Texas are grief-stricken by the senseless slaughter of 19 elementary school students and 2 teachers by a gun-toting monster quickly dispatched by local law enforcement. Might this latest outrage finally move our secular, prodigal nation to lower our voices, bow our heads and pray for God’s forgiveness? 


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Comments 1-9 of 9

  • Sachiko Nagao

    06/08/2022 12:50 PM

    I hope so, Ken!
    Great article! :)

  • Stephen Ernest Mitchell

    06/02/2022 09:56 AM

    Colonel Allard , thank you for your service . I came across this article about 50 years ago ( I'm now 80 ) , it's entitled " The Greatest Enemy of All Free People " . I am your enemy , your nightmare , your destruction . I hide in unseen places and go about my work silently . I never sleep and I am everywhere you are . You can not hide . I will give you nothing . I will take everything you have and seek more . I spare no one . I respect no color or creed . My victims are rich and poor , young and old , strong and weak . I massacre millions each and every generation . I have destroyed more people than all wars combined . Children will know me to their eternal sorrow . I have brought you great misery by replacing freedom loving governments with tyrants . I played a major role in the downfall of great civilizations . The Prince of Darkness alone sends me into you life . Once inside , seldom am I asked to leave . You have been warned of my presence , but you don't care . Allow me to introduce myself . My name is APATHY ! Author unknow .

  • Norv Nicholls

    05/31/2022 06:32 AM

    I would like to ask you to look into why it’s taking so long to get to the bottom of the Supreme Court leaked documents issue.

  • Phyllis Dawson

    05/30/2022 10:19 AM

    Thank you for this moving summary and reminder of where we were and where we are as a nation.
    May God have mercy on us and send His Spirit to effect a third Great Awakening. our only hope.. We pray for that daily

  • Ed Thompson

    05/30/2022 08:34 AM

    My formal education started in a two room school house,seriously I’m old. Growing up in a coal mining community our actual education began at home! And I had both a mother and a father. How many children today have that one simple thing at home? And we had God in our life. At a very early age I learned the value of money and just what it took to earn twenty five cents! Parents think they need to be friends with their children first! Give them anything they ask for just because they want to be friends. It doesn’t work like that. Children test you. They want to learn from you. You have a responsibility to make them know there are real repercussions for their bad actions and those lessons have to be taught at home starting from scratch! Schools should stick with teaching basic skills that can actually be used in life like reading and writing and mathematics— not core garbage— and history and instill a sense of patriotism and pride for our country, not tear it apart and focus on everything bad. We do way better when we go forward not backwards. But everything starts at home. Teachers are a poor replacement for parents. It’s not their job to replace mom and dad. And listen to what the children are saying and what they are learning about. Get in their life and keep them safe. They want that. They need that. Teach them about Jesus Christ. Kan’t go wrong there.

  • don kottwitz

    05/30/2022 12:53 AM

    I remember reading in a news magazine (this was before the internet), some months after LBJ beat Barry Goldwater in the polls.
    This writer wrote, "I'm sorry. America. I apologize. During the campaign, I stated that I would vote for Goldwater. There was a huge outcry. 'If you vote for Goldwater, we will have all kinds of problems. There will be crime in the streets, inflation, racial problems, more war!'
    I'm sorry. I voted for Goldwater, and all these things happened. So I guess it's my fault."

  • LaVon M. WALKER

    05/29/2022 02:48 PM

    As a senior citizen - I do not want a "gun" - but I trust that my neighbors and others in public places have access to guns - know how & courage to use guns. Teachers obviously need to be "armed" in addition to "security guards" at the schools the politicians have !!!!! GOVT and the "teacher's union" locked down the "students" for over a year in "solitary confinement" ........... the "hatred & violence" that resulted is their fault ............... not a "piece of metal"

  • Mari Cartel

    05/29/2022 02:11 PM

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am amazed at how little people care about their own nation or even understand how important it is to defend our liberties. I also appreciate your comments about your child. From my own perspective I was in awe the moment I heard my two son’s heartbeats through ultrasound. It took my breath away. I was raised in a strict Jewish family and I am grateful every day that I was given a strong religious base.

  • Priscilla Martin

    05/28/2022 09:50 PM

    If only your words could be mandatory meditation! I fear that too many have allowed their reason, common sense and consciousness to be so warped that it would just be twisted beyond recognition.

    For love of God and respect for country.