only so long as it is the home of the brave.
People - even other people in the military - often ask me why I joined the Navy. (For those of you joining in late, I'm a Navy doctor in San Diego.) In honor of Veterans' Day today, I thought I'd tell you.
I don't always seem like the obvious person to join up. I can't hit a target with a handgun, much less a rifle. (One of these days I'll learn . . .) I struggle to do my push-ups in the semi-annual Physical Readiness Test. (Getting much better, thanks to the Navy.) I knit. (People scratch their heads.) I have an Ivy League education. (Somehow this one really seems to get people.)
So why did I raise up my right hand and swear to support and defend? Quite simply, because I didn't have to. I was born free and American, not by any particular merit or virtue of mine, or even my parents (although I think them particularly virtuous and meritorious). I just got lucky. A good family, a good education, and the perspective that - in another time and another place - I wouldn't have had the choice to serve or not to serve. It's an all-volunteer force and I volunteered. Somebody has to. Why should I assume that doesn't mean me?
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
On this Veterans' Day, pause for a minute and think about all those folks who served and who are serving now. It's not political. It's definitely not conservative. (I went to Brown, remember? And the United States Constitution remains a rather radical document, even 230 years later.) And it's really not about sales at the mall. It's a personal stand for public service. Because I believe 1787 was a really good year.