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Happy Independence Day

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!!!

This is the WHY of America – the USA – coming to be:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Memorial Day: “Thank you” is not sufficient

“Earn this!” said Tom Hanks’ character in Saving Private Ryan as he lay dying after having had most of his men die to save the titular character.

We owe these men and women.  We owe them in a way that cannot be paid back.  And while I never served, I do regret not serving.

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As we contemplate the ultimate price paid by those who gave that last full measure… the ongoing price, and pain, paid by their families and friends – let us resolve to never let the light of liberty go out.  Let us reprise the words of President Ronald Reagan, spoken before he became President – to give our foes notice of our resolve to protect that liberty and Constitution.

G-d bless America.

And G-d bless you.  Rest well, warriors… the light of liberty has not yet gone out.  Not yet.  Not while I still draw breath.  And to the enemies of America – both foreign and domestic – I state this, channeling what Reagan said:

There is a price I will not pay simply to continue to draw breath; there is a line beyond which you must not advance.

I took an oath when I worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers; that oath was to protect America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  That oath has never been lifted by anyone with the power to do so, so it holds.

That promise, that oath, to preserve for my children and their posterity this last best hope of man on earth – or die trying – is my way of saying THANK YOU.

Father’s Day – from a mug my wife gave me

DAD

A son’s first hero.

A daughter’s first love.

 

Every morning as I get their breakfasts ready I am keenly aware of the awesome responsibility laid on me; a responsibility that will not be discharged until they have left the nest, able to stand on their own.

  • Love G-d first and keep Him and His laws in their hearts, minds, and souls; in parallel, cherish their Jewishness, preserve it, and pass it onward
  • Love, honor, and protect their country, America – the greatest, most exceptional country in the history of the world (and in parallel, Western Civilization)
  • Love their family, help each other, and have families of their own – part of the obligation laid on each generation for the privilege of being born is to continue that chain to the next generation
  • Bring honor to themselves, their faith, their country, and their families

And so much more.

Yesterday I made my daughter clean her room after her play date.  Part of the responsibility after the fun of such an event is to deal with the aftermath.  She didn’t enjoy that, but teaching responsibility is part of my duty.

Yesterday I made my son cry after telling him to not doing something; not because I enjoy doing that, but because he needs to understand that to think before he acts is one of the hallmarks of a human being – as opposed to being an animal that just does.

My job is not to be their friend; my job is to love, protect, and prepare them for when they are adults.  And yes, I relish their love, and kisses, and “I love you Daddy!”s… but that’s icing on the cake.  Having them grow up into mature adults, good and observant Jews, staunch American patriots, educated and ready to enter the world and stand on their own, and in control of themselves and their emotions.

Then… I will have fulfilled my duty as a Dad.  Then, I hope to be their friend.

 

 

Memorial Day 2018

To our honored dead:

I owe you a debt that can never be repaid.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

And to the survivors… may G-d lift your burdens, may He heal your heart by knowing that your loved one fulfilled a most noble calling.

Anguish

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.