Monday, May 31st, 2010
It is interesting that in the early days of the republic, people feared a standing army. The Pennsylvania and North Carolina Constitutions went so far as to say, “As standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, THEY OUGHT NOT to be kept up.” This was a legitimate fear, based on history, as Allison Hayward points out in her essay today. (Thank you, Allison, by the way, for your second Guest Blogger essay!! We appreciate your insights!!)
Our founders addressed this possible threat to the peoples’ liberty by placing the power of Commander in Chief with the executive branch (Article II, Section II of the Constitution), but the power to raise armies with the legislative branch (Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution). And they even included a clause which forbade the appropriation of money for the support of an army for any longer period than two years, as a precaution to keeping troops without necessity.
Today, on Memorial Day 2010, most Americans look at our military not with the suspicious eye of our forefathers, but with heartfelt pride and gratitude. Two days ago Rasmussen announced a poll showing that 74% of Americans have a favorable view of the U.S. Military. Only 12% had an unfavorable opinion and 13% weren’t sure.
I believe part of this strong support for our troops is due to the founding fathers’ wise use of checks and balances in structuring the government’s control of the military, balancing power between the legislative and executive branches. The abuses that the anti-federalists feared have not come to pass.
An equally important factor responsible for American support of our troops is the quality of the men and women who, since the elimination of the draft, have chosen to serve. These are brave, selfless men and women – fathers and mothers – who leave their families for years at a time to go to foreign lands and defend freedom. These members of the armed services make sacrifices in their personal life, their financial life, their physical and mental health, and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice, all to defend our liberty. I am honored and blessed to count many active duty members of the military as friends, and I cannot think of any people with higher character, sense of patriotism and duty to country than these service members.
God bless those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom, may God be with their families, and may God be with and bless our active duty military and veterans. Our country owes you all a huge debt of gratitude. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.