At the Tuolumne Veterans Day Ceremony today I got to thinking about the tremendous sacrifices made by men and women who gave so much for their country – our country. I was thinking about the strong sense of duty that drove many of them to leave home, family, friends, and country that we might be free. And then I thought about the mess California and the US are in and asked myself, what’s our excuse? How did we come to this?
Quite simply, we did not show up. We let it come to this.
We ignored our duty to get involved. We abdicated our responsibility to direct and correct our leaders. We let agendas we didn’t share chart the course to the future. We allowed political and governmental leaders to legislate and spend to their hearts’ content. We figured it was someone else’s job to be vigilant. When folks tried to warn us about a day of reckoning, we ignored them.
We need a strong dose of what you have, Vets. Duty. Self-sacrifice. Commitment to something beyond ourselves.
We let you down. We didn’t do our part while you sacrificed elsewhere. Dare I say that you had a reasonable expectation that while you served in the military, we would watch over the land you love?
We didn’t. We wanted to be left alone to recreate, prosper, and follow our dreams. We believed your sacrifice was enough to maintain what made California and the nation great. We didn’t attend meetings where decisions were made, didn’t vote, and didn’t hold anyone accountable for bad behavior or poor choices.
In Tuolumne at the Veteran’s Day ceremony today, I saw men and women who did their duty. They showed up – you showed up – when needed. We have no excuse.
At the risk of asking too much, may I suggest one more thing you can do for California and your country? We’re in trouble. Big trouble. Teach your children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends about duty, self-sacrifice, and commitment. Teach them to show up and stay there.
We’re going to need it.