A few weeks ago while visiting one of our recruiting offices, I had the honor of enlisting a young woman while her proud parents looked on. She raised her right hand and swore an oath. She swore an oath to support and defend freedom. She swore and oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. That oath is steeped in the heritage and somber in its true meaning. Its serious business.
When she was done with the ceremony portion, I sat down with her and her parents to chat. I pulled out a copy of the Constitution that I often carry with me. As we discussed her bold decision, I handed her the copy and gave her a challenge – read it. Statistics tell us that most young citizens of our nation have not actually read the Constitution. We will swear an oath to support and defend it, even to die for it, but we can’t be sure what it actually says.
The news is frequently charged with passionate arguments about the intricacies of the Constitution. In the profession of arms, we hold this document as sacred. On its behalf we sacrifice our time, our relationships, even our lives. We work, we struggle, we train, we deploy and we fight. We fight as if everything we hold dear is at stake, because it is. That document represents our nation and our freedom. Our nation is not perfect, but it is exceptional in that we constantly strive for freedom and equality.
Let me offer the same challenge I did to that dedicated young woman who swore an oath. I challenge you to read the Constitution. I will not demand you read the way I do. In fact, I’ll fight and die for your right to see things differently. Whether you last read it recently, years ago or never, I challenge you to read the words on which our oath is based.