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Honoring our veterans

By Sigurd Neubauer


The ancient Roman proverb – “if you want peace, prepare for war” (Si vis pacem, para bellum) – serves as a key pillar for Western strategic thought. At a time of increasing isolationism in the United States, coupled with polarization centering on what the country represents, it is important to remind the public that the prosperity, peace, and the American way of life that we all enjoy does not come for free nor can it be taken for granted. 

As we celebrate Veterans Day Weekend, it is not enough to simply express gratitude for the men and women in uniform who protect our nation. But we also need to be cleareyed about what each one of us can do to contribute to the nation that we love and treasure. We owe that to our troops and veterans.

We’re not on a good path. We’ve become a people marred in distrust of those who we disagree with; and we’ve become bitter and fearful of others. America’s societal malaise – which too often is defined by narcissistic decadence and contempt for others – leaves us vulnerable to our strategic adversaries who may very well seek to capitalize on it. 

The world is a dangerous place. 

The unfolding war in Gaza will inevitably complicate an already fragile international environment triggered by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine while the United States and China face off against each other in a global power competition. The outcome of the Israel-Hamas war will impact the global balance of power. Given the high stakes, demonstrating humanity towards others – while maintaining the strength of our convictions – are values we should all attempt to exhibit during this very fraught moment in history.

On these pages, we pray that God will grant our political leaders – Republicans and Democrats – wisdom to meet the challenges America faces. At the same time, we can also find timeless wisdom and inspiration in former President John F. Kennedy’s words: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

If you want peace, prepare for war: Roman proverb
President Kennedy; First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy; their children John, Jr., and Caroline at their summer house in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, 1962. Photo credit: The White House
My fellow Americans, let us take that first step. Let us...step back from the shadow of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step: JFK's Radio and Television Address to the American People on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (316), July 26, 1963
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