What Is The Duty We Owe To They Who Have Done Theirs?, originally uploaded by Stephen Foster.
We owe two fundamental duties to those who have served in our armed forces: to remember and to treat their gift of service as the most precious thing we will ever receive.
This is the Vietnam Memorial in Newhall Park, Concord, California. Perhaps one of these men attended Pine Hollow Intermediate School with me, in 1967. The flag I am holding was left here today, I think (it is unweathered), by a parent or a friend with a long memory.
I, and my generation, have made the great error of blaming the soldier for the war. Any nation, our species even, will need, for a very long time, those who understand that the essence of love is a willingness to give up one’s future for the sake of the future of the beloved. Even when we believe the cause unjust, that sacrifice is not one we should scorn.
As a people who claim to be free, it is our duty to accept the responsibility for the justice of our actions as a nation. We are not free to be shut of that responsibility; we can only do our duty or fail to do our duty.