As the war with Iraq continues, we are reminded, sometimes in chilling detail,
of the horrors of armed conflict. Helicopters crash on live TV. Americans
are taken prisoner only to be executed in blatant violation of the Geneva
Conventions. Families grieve for lost sons or daughters or husbands or wives.
Great tragedy is inevitable in times of war, and with each announcement of
an American killed in battle, the nation mourns as one family. But,
there is something else that becomes visible in times of tribulation.
Through struggle and hardship, through pain and suffering, we are given a
glimpse of something special. It is in times like these that a window
appears, and through that window, we are shown the mightiest of all forces:
the American spirit.
With each passing day, we are reminded of what it means to be an American.
Our troops fight, and they fight well, but they also fight by a code.
When enemy soldiers are captured by Americans, they are fed, given water,
and treated with dignity. Contrast this with the treatment of American
prisoners of war. Contrast this with the condition Pfc. Jessica Lynch
was in when she was rescued. Americans value life, and our forces in
Iraq have shown they will go to great lengths to preserve it. We have
seen over and over again how the values of America have been used against
us as some of our own have been killed by enemy soldiers faking surrender
or blowing themselves up at checkpoints.
The American spirit is a marvel to behold. From the time the first
colonists settled on our eastern shores, being drawn to a better way of life,
that spirit has existed and flourished. As an early nation, we looked
to the West and saw a great wilderness, and we explored it. As a growing
nation, we were tested with the epic struggle of civil war, and we survived
it. Faced with the threat of world domination, we were thrust into
two world wars, and we won. As we looked to the heavens and saw the
moon circling above, the American spirit moved once again. We built
rockets, and we walked the lunar landscape.
Americans have fought for freedom in the past, and we are doing so again
today. Sometimes we fight for our own freedom, sometimes for the freedom
of others. In this case, we are fighting for both. As the war
goes on, we see more and more the atrocities of Saddam Hussein's regime.
We see the torture rooms and the morgues filled with hundreds of bodies.
We hear the reports of Iraqis getting their tongues cut out and of women
being beheaded. All of this is being perpetrated by an evil dictator
bent on developing and delivering death and destruction to thousands of others.
Americans shudder at these images. We are saddened and outraged by
what we see, and we feel this overwhelming urge to do something about it.
This should come as no surprise. After all, we are Americans, and we
know what the American spirit is all about. What is hard for many of
us to understand is where is the sadness and outrage from some of our so-called
allies? Have they become so used to America fighting for their freedom
as well as our own that they can just sit back and let us do it again?
To see what a powerful force freedom is to the American spirit, all one has
to do is look at some of the countries who are supporting the removal of
Saddam Hussein and his regime. Namely, the countries from the former
Warsaw Pact are showing that freedom is a powerful motivator. These
countries have lived under oppression, and they now feel the warmth of freedom.
This freedom has moved their spirit to act, just as our sense of freedom
compels our spirit to act.
I'm creating a collage of pictures to be hung on the wall of my office.
These pictures are of events that have left a permanent mark on my soul for
what America is all about. Among these pictures is one of Reagan giving
his famous speech at the Berlin Wall. Another is of a Chinese dissident
standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square. Another is of the
shocking events of September 11, 2001.
To that collection, I'm planning to add images of our troops from this war.
In a country that values freedom, they are our freedom fighters. The
American spirit is showing brightly through their actions, and we owe them
our support. With each action, they show that words like duty, honor,
courage, and valor have real meaning in the American vocabulary.
America is great, not simply because we are free. America is great
because with that freedom, we choose to do good. We are now being tested,
and we are fighting the good fight. The American spirit is our guide,
and it has never burned brighter. The fight against freedom was taken
to our shores on September 11, 2001. Now, in the fight for freedom,
we are taking it to theirs.
Bobby Eberle is President and CEO of
GOPUSA (http://www.gopusa.com/), a news, information, and
commentary company based in Houston, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical
engineering from Rice University.
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