You ever stop to think about what a miracle America is?
Recently, 13 of my fellow countrymen I’ve never met gave their lives protecting me and you. I mourned their loss and cursed our political leaders on the drive from work. I’m a former Marine who served in Iraq so more than once I blinked back tears.
But I was able to cleanse my mind by stopping to watch my 5th-grader practice football with his buddies. There they were—muddy, sweaty, a little blood on some, but smiling and loving every minute of it. Boys being boys and becoming men, hopefully the type of men developing the type of character that makes them willing to go be Marines, or soldiers, sailors or airman one day.
Because we’ll always need them. Boys made men in the crucible of American boyhood. Girls made women in a society that offers them opportunities and dignity unparalleled in the rest of the world. Some roam the woods. Others play sports. Still, others become coarsened by broken homes or gritty urban streets. They’re a snapshot of the men and women who gave their lives for us last week. All races and genders —but none of that matters.
The American military, and the Marine Corps in particular, has a way of taking the ingredients of this melting pot and boiling them into the type of humans that endure obvious, inane danger created by our political class.
Before they gave their lives how many caught the babies tossed over razor wire by terrified mothers? We haven’t thought enough about what that means. An occupied people so convinced of the fundamental decency of their occupiers that they blindly tossed their children into their arms.
America didn’t need Donald Trump to make it great. It didn’t need to elect Barack Obama to prove it’s good and just and fair. We don’t make citizens out of political parties and candidates. We make them out of you and me — teachers, schools, churches, coaches, librarians, policemen, firefighters and moms and dads who get out of bed every day and just go to work and love their kids.
America is an amazing place that creates amazing people who do amazing things. Our communities produce great humans who become heroes and make great sacrifices like we saw last week. And God bless them those men and women and the communities who reared them.
Because they do it, I get to go to work in the most secure, peaceful, prosperous, diverse and good—yes good—society in the history of the world. And I get to go be with my family when the day is done under the umbrella of freedom their sacrifice provides.
Brandon Essig is a former Marine who served in Iraq. He currently practices law at Birmingham based Lightfoot law firm.