The Global War on Terror and the 4th of July
By Mike Hennelly
Spending the 4th of July thinking about a memorial for those who fought in the Global War on Terror has the advantage of putting the issue in an interesting perspective. The primary reason why we remember the 4th of July is because thousands of Americans were willing to sacrifice their lives for freedom and our country’s independence. After that initial 4th of July in 1776, Americans would spend the next six 4th of Julys fighting for their independence. In the twentieth century, U.S. military forces were at war during the 4th of July of 1917 and 1918 in World War I. In World War II, U.S. forces were engaged in combat during every 4th of July from 1942 to 1945. Compare those conflicts with the Global War on Terror and the contrast is stark. U.S. forces spent eight 4th of Julys fighting in Iraq and more than ten of these holidays fighting in Afghanistan.
Thinking about a Global War on Terror Memorial on the 4th of July offers us two important lessons. One lesson is that this Memorial would be a tangible expression of America’s gratitude for the level of commitment and sacrifice displayed by those who volunteered to bear the cost of this conflict. Another lesson is that this Memorial would be a powerful reminder to all Americans that the ideals and values of our country sometimes require great sacrifice from its citizens.