Not Star Wars.
As a child, I was enamoured with the lives of the noble Greeks and Romans. I especially loved to read anything that had to do with The Republic. Lucius Junius Brutus, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, and Publius Horatius Cocles were among my heros. Brave men and true who took up the cause of their people despite its potential cost. I would read their stories and imagine myself striking the blow against tyranny, leaving behind the plow only to return at the height of fame and take it up once again, or holding the Pons Sublicius (bridge) against the forces of chaos and barbarism nigh on single handedly. The heroes of my youth were these servants of the Old Republic.
There were also the stories of my family’s service to the New Republic. The Revolution, 1812, Texas, Civil War, Spanish-American, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam Era, it seemed that each generation had “gone for a soldier” to do their duty as best they could. These men were also my heroes, and though they did not romanticize their service, those I knew would speak merely of doing their duty or job. They may have had medals, but the heroes were someone else.
This was the example set for me: one of service, of doing one’s duty as a citizen of a free republic and in service to her people. It sounds corny and cheesy in today’s cynical age, but yes this is why I enlisted and served The Republic.
On this day, we offer thanks to all those who have stood their watch on the walls. Some served in days of peace, some in times of war and terror. Whether in combat or in the rear, draftee or volunteer, each one answered the call of this Republic and her people when needed, even when people of this Republic cared not for where and why they were sent. Patriotism may be passé, but our gratitude should never be. Pray for our vets and continue to work for their care in a time when so many are cast off and forgotten.
I pray God that my children may live in peace and not need to take their watch, but should the day come when the forces of Barbarism stand at the gates, it is my hope that they will be inspired by our stories of the Old Republic and take their place to protect and defend their people.
Blessed George and Martin of Tours, pray for us.