What do you owe?


I finally had the chance to read Chris Kyle’s book American Gun this past weekend. It’s an excellent book, and I highly recommend your reading it. The books’ authors (it was completed after Chris’ untimely death) weave an extremely interesting blend of technical facts and history together, so even folks other than us “gun people” will enjoy it.

But this post isn’t about the book. It’s about the last paragraph in the epilogue that asks a question.

“Think of yourself, and your connection to history. Ask yourself: What do you owe to the American soul you’re tied to, and how are you going to pay it forward?”

This resonated with me. I think that we, as Americans, have all but forgotten what we endured to become the country we are. We have forgotten the sacrifices of our nation’s forefathers, as well as those of our families and others.

Our society has developed so much of a “what’s in it for me” mindset that they forget the important part. For you to get something, someone else has to do something. Your “free” healthcare or housing? Someone else is working so their taxes can pay for it. And that person is probable working overtime just so he can feed and shelter his family. If your house is on fire, your baby is choking, or someone crashes through your door in the middle of the night, the fire department, paramedics, and police come just as fast as they can. They willingly risk their lives daily for total strangers. Your ability to say as you wish, worship to your beliefs, and enjoy other freedoms few other countries even know about? Somewhere, in a trench in France, a steamy island in the Pacific, a frozen foxhole in Korea, a sweltering jungle in Southeast Asia, a windswept desert in Iraq, or a forbidding mountain ridge in Afghanistan, someone who left their home, family, and career behind stood guard over the rest of us. Or were returned home to their loved ones in a box covered with our flag.

Americans have worked and progressed for over two hundred years now, understanding that there are no free lunches. That everything comes with a cost. When did this sense of entitlement become the pervasive mindset? And what are we going to do to change it?

No one owes me anything. What I have done over my life I have chosen to do of my own free will. The service to my community and to my country was something that I was raised to believe was a necessary thing to ensure the safety and progress of our Republic. I was made to understand at a very young age that everyone has to do their part, whatever that may be, for the country. Not the individual, but the nation. For without the country, there is no individual. No one person can be self-sufficient. The strength of our nation has always relied on the cooperation and sharing of individual talents to keep us strong. So, why did we stop?

There are many in the world standing by waiting to rejoice in our failure. There are many who are waiting for us to weaken to a sufficient degree so that they may swoop in and impose their own brand of rule upon us. Sadly, unless we come together as a nation, and quickly, there are many who may have their dreams fulfilled. We need to become one again. We need to wipe the victim mentality from our psyches, and start acting like the people of the most influential country on earth again.

Most of all, we have to ask ourselves, what do we owe to the American soul we’re tied to, and how are we going to pay it forward?

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy


The Tactical Pirate

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President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.

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