Two simple words—with profound meaning… Perhaps some of you will immediately recognize these words from the movie Saving Private Ryan. Maybe you watched this epic film on Memorial Day after your BBQ, fun time at the lake, or being at the opening day of the swimming pool. I spoke in Waco, Texas, on Memorial Day morning and drove back home to Garland in time to enjoy the pool with my Grandson Jaxton….and watch Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. These two words were spoken to Matt Damon’s character, Private Ryan of the 101st Airborne Division, by Tom Hanks’s character, CPT Miller of the 2d Ranger Battalion. If you do not know the movie storyline, shame on you.

These two words, “Earn This,” should resonate with us all, not just on Memorial Day but every day. This coming Sunday, I will board an American Airlines flight with my wife Angela, heading to Charles DeGaulle Airport, Paris. We will get transport to that place depicted in Saving Private Ryan, Normandy region of France. It was there that 80 years ago, brave young American men embarked upon a great crusade to free the European continent. Many of them are no longer with us, but yet the words “Earn This” still have a poignant meaning.

I am reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s words to Mrs. Powell on September 17, 1787: “A Republic if you can keep it.” Those words, combined with “Earn This,” are lasting reminders of our duty as citizens in this Constitutional Republic.

Yet, we live in an America today where we have so-called elected officials who are doing everything possible to disavow that duty and actually undermine this Republic. Eight decades ago, they jumped from airplanes, hit the beaches, and, in the Pacific, went from island to island to combat what we know as the embodiment of evil—Naziism, Imperialism, and Fascism. They faced the ideologies that stripped away human rights, freedom, liberty, and dignity. They came from all over our Country with varied and diverse backgrounds, but they were committed to defeating that which they never wanted to threaten our Nation.

My Dad was one of those Men, US Army Corporal Herman West Sr. He gave me that “Earn This” speech when I was 15 years of age on the steps of his house at 651 Kennesaw Ave NE Atlanta, GA 30308…(404) 874-2836. He told me that there was no greater honor than to wear the uniform of our Country, and then he challenged me to be the first officer in our family. I will never forget the pride and tears in his eyes on 31 July 1982 when his middle son became a US Army Second Lieutenant. My wife Angela’s Dad, MSG Ronald Keith Graham (US Army, Ret) came to America from Jamaica and ended up serving 24 years active duty with two combat tours of duty in Vietnam, 23d Division (Americal). Our dads lie at their final duty stations in Marietta and Arlington National Cemeteries. Angela and I have resolved to live a life where we “Earn This” from the sacrifices of our dads.

So, how did we get to this point in our America where we have elected officials, US Members of Congress, advocating for the very same evil that my Dad faced in World War II? Imagine the horror of those American Soldiers who came upon the concentration and death camps. Yet today, we have individuals who support Islamic terrorist groups who seek the very same outcomes and hold those ideals. Six million people of Jewish origin were horrifically murdered, and today, we still have imbeciles talking about putting people in ovens…which is what Hamas did to Jewish babies on October 7th. Not to mention that Hamas killed Americans on that day.

When Tom Hanks’ character said “Earn This”, who would have ever believed that 80 years later we would be hearing chants of Death to America, and witnessing the burning of our flag? Who would have ever thought that memorials to Americans who served overseas would be desecrated?

Do we even realize that we live in a Constitutional Republic? And do we truly know what that means? Obviously not, since we have even the one who holds the highest office in our land miscategorizing America as a democracy. Next week will be the 80th anniversary of D-Day, but how many of our children know that history? How many of us can name the two beaches that Americans landed upon or know the units that jumped into Normandy? Yet, we are teaching our children about mutilating their bodies, 60+ genders, and other nonsense while most of our children cannot read and do math at grade level.

Sooo, I guess it is quite the stretch to ask if our children understand the Constitution of the United States of America. How can you keep a Republic if you do not know what it is or the rule of law that governs it? Perhaps that explains why we vote for people who have no understanding of our Constitutional Republic.

Many of those Men who served in World War II have gone to their final duty assignments. I wonder what they think of us? Are we adhering to those words “Earn This?”

There was another word from the movie Saving Private Ryan—FUBAR. When you do not live a life in honor of those who make the ultimate sacrifice, the last full measure of devotion…Earning It. Then, you will be condemned to living in an America that is FUBAR.

Steadfast and Loyal.