Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: "We the people." "We the people" tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. "We the people" are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast.
Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which "We the people" tell the government what it is allowed to do. "We the people" are free.
I'd like to take this opportunity to remind our country on this important holiday weekend that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
President Ronald Reagan once said that the resurgence of national pride that he called the new patriotism, was a time of bringing "We the people" together again. This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.
Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the history of the world? Those of us who are over thirty-five years old grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. It was like you could breathe it in, like the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in the Korean War, or the family who lost someone at Anzio in World War II. You could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too. When and why did it stop?
The destruction at the World Trade Center occurred just over a decade ago, destruction that was initiated by those that hate, hate us for the freedoms and values that we as Americans have fought for over our entire existence as a country to protect. Our spirit is back, but we haven't re-institutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. Freedom is both special and right. It's fragile; it needs protection.
On this Memorial Day, please take the time to honor our Nation's Veterans and remember that "Freedom is Never Free". Thanks to all that have served in uniform to ensure that we have the freedoms that we continue to enjoy today and May God Bless America!
John Corsi with the United States Army (1974-1976) lives in Nashville, Tenn. He is a Dunkirk native.