Protecting Patriot's Accomplishments

By Middlebury Campus

Author: Abigail Ward

United We Stand.” This phrase is all over since Sept. 11, and these three words are comforting for a shaken nation. However, I feel like this phrase is not representative especially of the college population and the younger generations that have never had to deal with full-blown war before. It is painful and incredibly sad that even in the face of the trauma of these terrorist attacks we cannot fully unite.

I have listened and participated in numerous discussions regarding these events, including the two held in Proctor Lounge over the last few weeks. I wanted to know how others felt and responded to these events and the action taken by the American government. I have spoken with students from other countries, including those directly involved, and my opinion and resolve have remained unchanged. The United States is doing the absolute right thing, and I proudly support my country and my government in all of its endeavors to protect the inherent freedom that forms the basis for our lives and our country. Why are we doing this? Look for the answer in our roots: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

That is the preamble of our Constitution of the United States of America. These (in addition to those famous self-evident, inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness) are words that have made America the Land of Opportunity for over 200 years. It is a country that attracts millions of people from other countries each year, including to colleges and universities, such as Middlebury College.

The life that we know in this country, the freedom, is a gift. It is a gift from the thousands upon thousands of people, like my grandfather at Bastogne in World War II, like my friend Yara’s father in Vietnam, like my friend Todd, a marine who is in Afghanistan right now. These are the people who have put their lives on the line so that we can live our lives that way we want to—free.

Out of immense respect for our veterans and our American casualties, it is impossible not to support our government in ridding this world of the pure evil that has come to power. These terrorists are people who pass illegitimate, hateful judgments on others by labeling them American in the same horribly wrong way that Hitler labeled the Jewish people in World War II. No, America is not perfect. But on an individual basis, we are not bad people; we are all simply living our lives the best we know how, and we do not deserve to have our lives ended or disrupted. We must not let history repeat itself. Americans are not letting this happen. Our government is protecting our lives through extraordinarily humane strategies so far. Those who might die are not dying for nothing. They are dying for freedom for all of us. This is not about Afghanistan. This is about depravity, and its threat to basic human rights. If united, we will not fail.

Think about it. How could it not be worth putting your life on the line to protect the right to live it the way you choose? As the words cannot be stated more clearly, I will borrow them from a fellow American, Patrick Henry (1775): “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.”