This week I’ve been working with several schools to put together Veterans Day programs. While doing so the strains of the third movement of Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom kept running through my head. Perhaps old TJ expressed it best…
We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offense. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death. In our native land, in defense of the freedom that is our birthright and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our forefathers and ourselves; against violence actually offered; we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.
—Thomas Jefferson – Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms (July 6, 1775)
Even though the words were written 235 years ago, much of it rings true today.