Anyone acquainted with (LtCol USMC Ret) Freddie Blish, any fortunate enough to call him friend, knows he is all about God, family, and country. And in all that mix, of course, is Blish’s love of “the Corps.” Once a Marine, always a Marine.
Meaning, Semper Fidelis — Semper Fi — are not mere Latin words, but a credo that goes to the very core of who and what Blish is.
Freddie’s lineage is one of service to country, a proud heritage to be sure.
On Thursday, November 8, Freddie Blish gave the keynote address at the Gilbert Veterans Day Ceremony.
Here are his remarks:
This year Veteran’s Day is especially significant given this being an Election year for our Republic, an election many of us considered critical for its survival. Our Republic would not exist if not for our military and the selfless sacrifices of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen that celebrate Veteran’s Day with us.
Republic, I said Republic.
A word not chosen lightly. We are a Republic not a democracy.
A Democracy: A government of the masses.
Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct” expression.
Results in mobocracy. Mob rule…where are we seeing that now?
Attitude toward property is communistic — negating individual property rights.
Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences.
Again, what does that sound like?
So what is a Republic?
According to Army Training Manual No. TM 2000-25 on Citizenship, U.S. History and the Constitution that was compiled and issued by the U.S. War Department, November 30, 1928:
Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
Attitude toward property is respect for laws and individual rights, and a sensible economic procedure.
Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with due process, fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.
A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.
Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.
Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
So What three things make our Republic so unique?
- Our Constitution with its affirmation of our God given individual and states rights.
- Our rule of law that reaches back to Mosaic law
- Our Free Enterprise Economy
But let’s focus for on our Constitution.
A document we swore an oath to defend with our lives. A document that if you haven’t just read it, but truly studied it, then I encourage you to do just that. It is a brilliantly crafted document written by very sage and Godly inspired men. We are unique in that we swear an oath to a document and the ideals it contains, not a King or a President.
So what was our oath? Who remembers their oath?
Oath of Enlistment
I, [name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
Oath for Officers
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
When we ended our service did our oath end? I argue, no, it did not.
So if we no longer serve in our Republic’s military, how can we continue to serve our Republic in a different way? How can we continue to abide by our oath?
Each of us served in different occupations; infantry, artillery, combat engineers, aviation, logistics, etc. We each had different skills, different talents, but the same mission.
How do we defend our Republic’s Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic now?
How do we serve our Republic now? How do we continue to selflessly serve our nation?
We can help others that have served. Marines taking care of Marines, or other vets through the Volunteering at the VA, American Legion, VFW.
We can support our brothers and sisters in blue, as well as firefighters & paramedics.
We can support our churches and synagogues.
We can help prepare the next generation of our Republic’s citizens through the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, sharing your story with the Veterans Heritage Project Arizona, engage our Republic’s youth about our Constitution and our history.
Or just simply share and engage your children, grandchildren, and relatives with your experiences having served or sharing memories of a family member who served.
The opportunities are only limited by our own imaginations. No matter what path you choose I recommend TM 2000-25 as a good source of information. These things sound simple, but it is what our Republic needs right now.
You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:6
In closing, let me share with you the moral obligation that I charged all of the leaders of Marines who served under me:
“Your moral obligation is to train your Marines to accomplish their mission, fight, win, survive, and come home alive. Everything else is secondary.”
I ask you now to accept the moral obligation to teach our youth about our Republic and just how great it is and the importance of defending it. Or as Capt Miller whispered to Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan, “Earn this.”
Let us teach them what he meant by “Earn this.”
Let not the sacrifices of those who have served ever be wasted by allowing our nation to stray away from being a Constitutional Republic. If we do not teach them the truth, someone else will teach them falsehoods or not at all. We will then lose this Republic within a generation and we will have failed our oath.
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1
So on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month let us all honor Veteran’s Day, or as it is called in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia – Remembrance Day.
All of us who are blessed to call America home should take heed to Freddie’s words. Not only should we be thankful daily for this Constitutional Republic, we should be thankful for those heroes proved who earned our liberty. America is the greatest experiment in liberty the world has ever seen.
But as Blish emphasized, there is no guarantee she will remain that shining city on a hill.
Each of us owe a debt to our veterans, some of whom paid the last full measure of devotion. And one way we can repay that debt is to safeguard this amazing Republic and her Constitution.
Be ever-vigilant in your role as citizen, as patriot.
In the words of my friend Freddie Blish, Semper Fi. Always Faithful.