Our Duty to Be Free

Although our federal government’s effort to fight terrorism appears hamstrung by political correctness that even makes the use of the word "terrorist" offensive, the average, everyday American has no qualms about fighting terrorism wherever they meet it.

This motivation to fight, rather than lie down and die like sheep, was literally woven into the genes of Americans when this nation began to be colonized centuries ago. And in our more recent history, even before we faced a terrorist threat, an innate sense of a duty to defend freedom characterized generations of Americans who went before us.

We’ve seen this fighting spirit in the numerous “concealed carry” laws that swept through our nation over the last few decades: laws which are indicative of the fact that citizens are no longer just keeping arms, but are bearing them as well.

I thought about this last week, while driving through the night from West Texas to Houston. On the dark highway I occasionally slipped my hand down beside my seat where I could feel the handle of my Glock 29 (in 10mm). Just knowing the gun was there reminded me I was a free man who had the responsibility to remain free.

As I rode with my gun within reach, my mind drifted back to the words of James Madison, who said: “The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Madison understood that because inalienable rights are God-given rights, they are also God-given duties. In other words, we don’t just have the right to keep and bear arms, but also the duty to do so.  

Thus somehow, even now, although a political correctness that tends to emasculate men has overtaken our government, our public schools, and our universities, Americans have managed to keep this one great understanding intact – We have a duty to be free that is just as important as our right to be free.

Remember how Todd Beamer lived and died for this conviction aboard a hijacked airliner, United Airlines flight 93, on September 11, 2001? It was 9:57 a.m. when family members to whom he’d been speaking on his cell phone heard him say, “Let’s roll.” His family then listened as screams and shrieks accompanied the attempts by Beamer, and other passengers, to break into the cockpit and regain control of the plane.

The grassy field in Shanksville, PA, where the hijackers were forced to bury their plane instead of completing their mission, sends a message to all would-be terrorists intent on attacking our country and our citizens – We will not go quietly.

This message has been backed up with the fists and chokeholds everyday passengers have used on shoe-bombers, underwear bombers, and other would-be terrorists on our airplanes since 9/11. It is the message police Sgt. Kim Munley’s bullets re-sent via her response to the Ft. Hood shooter on November 5, 2009. And it’s the same one the majority of Americans are ready and willing to deliver any time and every place our liberty and/or civility are threatened.

We are not free by chance, but because generations before us understood that God intended great things for this country. From those who took part in the American Revolution to those who fought the War of 1812; from U.S. naval personnel in the Spainish/American War to the Doughboys who turned the tide in World War One; and from World War Two’s greatest generation to Vietnam Vets to the citizens who banded together aboard flight 93 on September 11, and beyond, Americans have not only treasured the right to freedom but also proudly taken unto themselves the duty of defending freedom as well.

Rights are important, but rights alone will not keep us free, for they are static. What we need are more Americans who understand they’ve a duty to defend (and protect) those rights. It is through the execution of this duty that 21st century Americans join ranks with our Founding Fathers in risking “[their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor” for a cause greater than themselves.

The cause is freedom itself, and it’s ours to uphold.