The American Spirit

“Of the People, by the People.” No other words better define who we are as a nation. The shot heard round the world set freedom in motion, but it was the American spirit that lit the fuse.
Our Founders believed that our rights were endowed by our Creator, not by the government. The Declaration of Independence was an indictment of King George III by the people. His punishment: lose the Colonies to democracy; to freedom. From the very beginning, it has been the people of this country who have always come to the rescue when freedom is threatened.

In the fall of 2009, Fort Worth, Texas, native 1st Lt. Derick Carver of the 82nd Airborne arrived in Afghanistan. The 28-year-old rough Army Ranger had one mission in mind — defend freedom. On his first deployment to Afghanistan, his platoon was to clear a school of bombs or IEDs. U.S. troops learned that the Taliban had blanketed the school with explosives and the children were not able to return to their classrooms.

It was in this school a world away, that Lt. Carver’s life changed in a split second. An IED explosion claimed the lives of three of his friends, wounded seven others in his platoon and left Carver gravely injured.

Lt. Carver eventually made his way to Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.  His injuries were so severe that he needed 51 units of blood over the course of his treatment. As a result of the explosion, Carver lost his leg and a finger.

His recovery is a miraculous story. His determination to walk again, to put his life back together and keep moving forward is inspirational. But it’s the rest of the story that tells the tale of the American spirit.

Lt. Carver has wanted to be a soldier all of his life. He told me he can’t remember not wanting to serve his country.  Both his grandfathers served:one a Marine; and the other a sailor on the USS Pueblo that was captured by the North Koreans. His dad served in the U.S. Navy. Lt. Carver was bred to do just that. He grew up with a sense of service and personal responsibility. So it comes as no surprise that he declined his medical discharge — and his benefits. Instead, he re-enlisted.

He wants to serve his country. He said that losing a leg can’t compare to losing the lives of three of his friends. In his words, “I owe it to them.”

Where does America find such men?  For more than 200 years, where do we continue to find those who sacrifice so much for the rest of us? There is no other war in modern times that has been fought this long by an all-volunteer military. Not just on one front, but two simultaneous wars with all volunteers.

Lt. Carver will continue to serve his country honorably. He believes being a soldier is the best job in America.

Regardless of our politics, we can all agree that the United States of America is the greatest example of freedom the world has ever known. Fortunately, we have people like 1st Lt. Carver who continue to answer the call to defend that right all around the world.

Inside all peoples is the burning spark of freedom. Our troops fight so people can live in liberty  Our enemies fight so people can die in tyranny. The American people represent everything that is good about democracy and freedom.  Our ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence indicting the most powerful nation the world had known. They were willing to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for that American yearning for individual freedom.

We are still a nation that produces remarkable people like them. One of them is 1st Lt. Derick Carver. To him and his Army buddies, America is still worth sacrificing for. They are a special breed — the American breed.

A government run amok has many people in this country worried about our future. Let me remind you that it’s because “Of the People” that all is never lost in our country. The people, not the government, unite us as one. Even when it seems all is gloom, doom and despair, the people of this country will continue to light the fuse of freedom.  The American spirit, like the warrior on the battlefield, will always prevail.

And that’s just the way it is.