Sunday, March 9, 2008

American Disipline

It's Sunday morning, and a few years ago the time would be spent pouring over the Sunday paper catching up on news and opinions about the World. Today, I sat down and via the Internet, accessed hundreds of headlines, each calling out to attract my attention.

Using my regular SOP, I gathered several that follow a common theme and linked them to support the title of this post.

The first, comes by way of the editors of Small Wars Journal and explains in six minutes, what being an American means. We are Americans Sunday.

Tom Barnett's This week's column in entitled, America's discipline, globalization's survival and reminds us of the legacy that began in the We are Americans link.

Tom writes:
To America, symbol of everything it cannot allow, radical fundamentalists present no existential threat. Indeed, it is globalization's source code, America, which presents that threat to them: They cannot survive in a world of our integration. Their friction grows in direct relation to the force of globalization's advance; their violence is a function of our success, not failure. Their reservations and ghettos and communes await because these frontiers will be settled.

.........Globalization has reduced more poverty in the last 25 years than the world had achieved over the previous five centuries.
That legacy - our legacy - is worth defending because, in the end, it's America's discipline that ensures globalization's survival.

The next two articles speak to the discipline of Americans. The first, tells of the poignancy of that final letter home to a grieving family. The second, a story of amazing survival that led to a life long legacy of goodwill.

Michael M. Phillips in the Wall Street Journal has an article, The Last Letter Home, subtitled: When a soldier falls, commanders face a profound task: Accounting for a lost life to the family

It begins:
"How do you start a letter like this? How do you end it?"
On a raw November morning here, along the wild frontier bordering Pakistan, Lt. Col. Michael Fenzel spoke those words as he sat down to write to a father who would never see his son again.

The legacy of the last letter has its roots in the message of We are Americans.

"The letters began as a common courtesy among militiamen fighting for independence from England in the 18th Century."

and continued during the Civil War:
In 1864, Abraham Lincoln wrote to Lydia Bixby of Boston, whose five sons were believed killed in the Civil War. "I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming," President Lincoln wrote. "But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save."

And in a final link, a story that began 65 years ago this June 5th. It also comes by way of the editors over at Small Wars Journal and tells a story of that also speaks to the legacy of being American. His Cup Runneth Over: A Warrior's Thanks. The story is more than a war story of survival, it is the legacy of discipline and engagement with the World.

All these articles help to explain what being American means. Today much is made of our failings, the strength of a person and a nation is to be aware of ones weaknesses and reach into ones soul to overcome those setbacks. As a nation, the national dialogue we constantly engage in ensures that we face those challenges informed and together.

This excerpt from the Declaration of Independence says it all:

....and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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