As the Commanding Officer of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to witness countless demonstrations of patriotism not only in the city, but throughout the country.
One of the most memorable events was in 1987 when the officers decided to have a cookout on the ramparts of the barracks on the 4th of July. For those who have ever seen the Evening Parade, the ramparts are where the lone bugler plays taps at the end of the parade. It is quite remarkable and moving.
We assembled in the early evening and really had a great time. Since the ramparts are quite high, we had a fantastic view of the fireworks display on the mall. One of the members of our officers' mess was Colonel Colin Howgill from the Royal Marines. His attendance made this particular evening even more memorable. Here we had a member of the military from the country that we challenged for our freedom. Colonel Howgill was a fantastic officer and a superb representative of the Royal Marines and England.
I think back on my younger days and remember studying about our great country and its difficulties throughout its history. The revolutionary War was long and difficult and on more than one occasion the outcome was in doubt. Many of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence paid a huge price for their effort. Sadly, much of that is not being taught in our schools today.
The battle of Gettysburg also was waged during this time of the year with thousands of casualties on both sides. That particular battle was the turning point of the war, even though it lasted another two years. The country survived as one nation. Many more wars followed over the decades and the country grew stronger.
We thought that having an ocean on each coast protected us from the rest of the world, but we had to learn the hard way, both in World War I and World War II. Following World War II, we emerged as a super power since we were the only nation that was not effected by war damage. We demonstrated our greatness by rebuilding Europe and Japan while providing a protective umbrella from the Russians in Europe and the Chinese in Asia.
Today and for the past decade, we have been assisting countries in the Middle East gain their freedom from tyranny. The outcome is still in doubt. Even today, Syria continues to wage a civil war and Egypt has just ousted its dictatorial president.
Terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to create problems for their countries as they attempt to move in a democratic direction.
After our constitution was written, Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government we had. He responded, "A republic, if you can keep it." That republic was terribly put to the test during the Civil War and the cost was extremely high. The founders did not want a true democracy but rather a republic where representatives selected by the people ran the government and supposedly did as the people wished.
It was expected that if individuals did not do as the population desired that they would be turned out of office. That worked for a while, but it does not seem to be working quite as well in the recent past. The government has grown so large that it seems to do as it pleases. Common sense is in retreat as more stupid things occur. Various federal agencies spend millions of dollars on boondoggles with no regard for cost. Why not, it's not their money. The argument is presented that no one can control the government because it is so large. I agree, and the answer is to reduce it now.
It has become the habit of our congress to present new bills that are thousands of pages long concerning significant aspects of our lives such as ObamaCare, the immigration bill and the Dodd/Frank Bill. To add to the problem, congressional members did not read the bills. I suspect they never read any of the bills they passed over the years. This is tyranny from within and it is time for the people to take charge and vote those representatives who do not truly represent us out of office.
Donald J. Myers, a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a regular columnist for Hernando Today. He lives in Spring Hill and can be contacted at dmyers firstname.lastname@example.org.