Roger Helle / June 29, 2022

Freedom Is a Fragile Gift

You don’t have to be a historian to see that while warriors win the battles, politicians lose the wars.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” —President Ronald Reagan

As a combat veteran, I’ve given Reagan’s words much thought over the years. During my tours in Vietnam, the cost of freedom was evident daily. Brave men put their lives on the line for freedom for those in a far-off land who could not obtain it on their own.

The myth of Vietnam being an unwinnable war persists. In spite of what we’ve learned since, and the words of the North Vietnamese soldiers who fought against us, the lie continues. Jane Fonda, call your office! Having spent time with former communist soldiers, many of them officers and several high-ranking generals, the truth is very different. By their own words, the war was won for them by the American media and radical leftist protestors on college campuses across the nation.

No less a figure than Gen. Nguyen Giap, the man who defeated the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu during the first Indochina war, said so. I think he would know. He was also the architect of the Tet Offensive. He said they could not defeat America on the battlefield but in the media.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s history. Why go back to it?” Because we should learn from our past mistakes. German philosopher Georg Hegel said, “The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

I’m not an educated man, but I’ve lived long enough to have learned some hard life experiences. You don’t have to be a historian to see that while warriors win the battles, politicians lose the wars. We only have to look back to last August and Biden’s disastrous abandonment of our allies in Afghanistan. Vietnam was another example of epic failure!

October will be my 20th trip back to Vietnam. Each trip I make new friends. The younger generation knows nothing of what its parents and grandparents experienced — a brief season of freedom until the brutal communist takeover in 1975. Our political leaders turned blind eyes to the slaughter of several million lives as if it never happened. But even the younger generation in these communist countries knows something is missing.

All my life, the 4th of July has been a holiday where Americans from all walks of life came together to celebrate freedoms few nations on earth share. Since Vietnam, followed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I and many veteran friends who proudly served have been concerned about our fragile freedoms.

Do we have what it takes to stand up to tyranny and defend our freedoms? Remember Samuel Adams who said: “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Something to pray about!

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