But how do we define ‘greatest’ or ‘greatness’? And in what context are we using it?
Not wanting to get into any kind of philosophical or political debate, we would submit that national greatness be viewed from the perspective of it being grounded in freedom, opportunity, and responsibility. Where these three things meet, greatness can be achieved. To realize true freedom, responsibility has to go hand-in-hand with it.
There have been many other great nations, societies, and civilizations through the course of history. But none have had the intersection of freedom, opportunity, and the exercise of that freedom in a responsible way like we have here in the United States of America.
No, we are certainly not perfect. No one is. Because of our freedom, we have security. Freedom, exercised responsibly, mixed with opportunity, is what makes us secure and allows us to be great.
If we have no freedom, we also have no opportunity. And we lose our security also. The ones who have provided the freedom that we hold so dear are our Veterans from our Armed Forces. Were it not for their service throughout the history of this Republic, we would not have the freedom nor enjoy the greatness that we have achieved.
Make no mistake: security does not give us freedom. But freedom does give us security. And exercised responsibly, freedom allows us to be great. Benjamin Franklin said that If we trade our freedom for security, we will eventually deserve neither and lose both.
So, on this day, Veterans Day, and, for that matter, every day, we say “Thank You” to all of our Veterans.
Freedom is not free. It must constantly be paid for at a tremendous price.