Quote of the Day: The Soldier

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

— Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

(hat tip to who interestingly included this under "Quotes on Rationality.")

7 Responses to Quote of the Day: The Soldier

  1. Colin says:

    Alternatively, it is all of those, the reporter, the poet, the campus organiser, the lawyer who give the soldier the reason to enlist, because he feels it necessary to die to protect them.

  2. Derek says:

    It’s a nice sentiment, but in most places throughout history, it’s not true. Think of Rangoon, South Africa or even India during the British occupation. Gandhi was not a soldier.

    Soldiers follow orders in both democracies and dictatorships. IMO it’s just as important that the ultimate commander is a civilian.

  3. Having twice visited Walter Reed Hospital(ever leader should before deciding to go to war) I’ve seen the horrific effects of it and the extraordinary courage of so many soldiers there.

    Many are going otu of their way to work with doctors during their stay so that treatment protocols for the extreme injuries can improve – for the suffering soldiers who come after them for treatment.

    Yet it is sometimes the poet who shapes how we see the war that the soldier is sent to fight;

    it is sometimes the poet or other writer who most vividly describes the need for the freedom of speech so others feel compelled to defend it;

    it is the lawyer who is on the front line of the courts and in other advocacy, defending the right to a fair trial and acting towards making it happen for even hated individuals;

    and it is every patriotic American (and even some who may not be in others’ eyes) who joins the soldier who salutes the flag.

    And, unfortunately, it is also others who die (sometimes mourned without benefit of a coffin) because people high and low inside and outside their country have decided what should be fought about.

  4. Jose says:

    Ben, thank you for posting the quote; countless times has it provided me and many of my fellow soldiers the all-too-forgotten “thanks”. Unfortunately, Kare and Derek felt the need to caveat / contextualize the simple yet effective quote. Not surprising coming from Derek who is clearly a weenie, “Derek is so fabulously successful, witty, charming and just plain good-looking that he’s allowed to write his own bio.” – taken directly from his Blog’s bio…again, major weenie.

    Thanks again Ben. Your sentiment was well received. Cheers.

  5. Derek says:

    Hey Jose, glad to hear you like me so much. Did you ever stop to consider the, you know, context of that quote of mine?

  6. 5 sec thinker says:

    Quote like these sound wonderful until you think about it for 5 seconds. Soldiers don’t give you freedom of speech. Politicians like Thomas Jefferson did. Soldiers don’t give us freedom of press. Politicians did. In fact, soldiers in other lands deprive people of these same very rights. Not the best of quotes I would say.

  7. Ben Casnocha says:

    The truth is neither Jefferson nor the soldier did it alone — they did it together. But we often just remember Jefferson.

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