By Lt. Col. Nathan Allerheiligen
62nd Airlift Squadron Director of Operations
In his book “End of the Spear”, missionary Steve Saint describes his life with an Amazonian tribe in which every person was completely free to do as they wished and completely equal in every aspect. Although that sounds like a great society to be in, free and equal, in truth that tribe was documented as the most violent society known to man. There wasn’t a single person in the tribe who hadn’t been affected by the rampant killings and vendettas. That tribe was killing itself into extinction in spite of their freedom and equality.
The foundations of liberty, freedom, equality and justice, that are the underpinnings of our great nation, have grown from centuries of thought, trial and the great leadership of men who could see that the fundamental purpose of the government is not to hand out a free lunch. Instead, the ultimate role of the government is to provide the foundational definitions of accepted behavior, the appropriate repercussions and consequences for violating those rules and to execute the punishments justly, fairly, equitably and quickly. In short, the freedoms of all are limited in order to maximize liberty, promote peaceful living and enhance the prosperity of everyone.
As Steve Saint wrote, “On some level, every society has to be willing to kill in order to exist. During my lifetime, there have been five international conflicts in which American soldiers havebeen required to kill and die under the assumption that they were doing it so the rest of us could live. The perpetuation of a society requires that some have to be willing to give up all their liberty so that others can go on living and be free and happy.”
The United States has also extended that protection of the liberty of all through the defense of all. The U.S. military services stand as the nation’s guardian from those who would wish to exercise their freedoms, and try to harm our great country. We have declared war on terrorism in order to carry out two fundamental tasks: protect our liberty from those who seek to destroy it and to extend the protection of our liberties to other people who have the same unalienable rights that we feel that every man, woman and child are granted.
This long war is so much more than a regional conflict. Rather, it is a test of the fundamental fabric of society. To ignore the issue is to give up your liberty. The sacrifice of the men and women who serve in the world’s greatest Air Force is far more than an occupational hazard. Our dedicated service is truly a calling to the transcendental cause of liberty. We gladly give of our time, talents, treasure and our lives in order that those we love and adore are protected. Our hearts also extend to the camaraderie of our fellow warriors and the ideals of our great nation.
To those who have answered that great and difficult calling, the defense of liberty, we give the highest honor and respect. Yet, it is we who wear the uniform and march, sail and fly into battle who are the ones who are blessed, for we see that the cost is small compared to the prize: It is our privilege, our honor and our reward to serve.