Commentary

November 21, 2012

Commentary: Thankfulness and an oak tree

Commentary by Senior Airman Jarad A. Denton
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — What are you thankful for? The question followed me the entire, extended weekend, as I struggled to write this article. It followed me as I made my way through the historic sites of Virginia.

The air was unseasonably warm for November, as I walked through the remnants of Jamestown, Va. – America’s first permanent English colony. The ground crunched beneath my feet as my shoes pressed into sand, dirt and stone that had seen the likes of such historical figures as John Smith, John Rolfe and Pocahontas.

As I weaved my way between brick foundations which had once been homes, my eyes caught sight of an oak tree that seemed strangely out of place. It was a live oak, dedicated June 15, 1965 to mark the 750th Anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.

It seemed strange that a tree would be planted at Jamestown to honor a document written in a country which unsuccessfully tried to squash our own pursuit of freedom. However, during the American Revolution, the Magna Carta acted as both an inspiration and a justification for the defense of liberty.

It was June 15, 1215 in a field at Runnymeade, England when King John pressed his seal into a document that would change the world forever. Written by a group of rebellious barons, the document sought to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king.

“No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land,” the document stated. “To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice.”

Similarly, the colonists, who had etched their mark into America from humble beginnings, believed and demanded the same rights as Englishmen. These rights, which were guaranteed in the Magna Carta, were later drafted into the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Centuries later, the Magna Carta is still regarded as one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy.

“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history,” said President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1941 Inaugural address. “It was written in the Magna Carta.”

The Magna Carta was more than just our history, I thought as I enjoyed the shade the oak provided. It could not be left to wither and turn to dust in the wind, especially during a month when people began looking into the things they were thankful for. This was more than our history – it was our identity. For a mere 180 years after Jamestown was founded in 1607, and some 300 miles north, a group of men came together inside the State House at Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.

From those articles, through a series of discussions and debates, an entirely new government was formed – with the Constitution as its guiding light.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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,” the document states in its opening lines.

While some of its framers regarded the Constitution as far from perfect, they did recognize the importance of its existence – if not the effect it would have on the world and generations to come.

“I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in a speech he wished to give prior to the signing of the Constitution’s final draft. “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us…”

An imperfect document for an imperfect world; but, from its pages came the birth of a nation that would idealize the principles of a democratic society. As I moved on from the oak tree, I realized what I was most thankful for this holiday season.

I was thankful for liberty. I was thankful for freedom. I was thankful for the sacrifices made by countless people throughout hundreds of years to lead us to the point where I could walk freely across the land and appreciate the rich history behind it. I was thankful for those who came before me who contributed to the shaping of this nation.

But, most importantly, I was thankful for America.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

“Solicit help; don’t hide”

Over the years, the term “Wingman” has evolved in the Air Force. The traditional military definition of a Wingman refers to the pattern in which fighter jets fly. There is always a lead aircraft and another which flies off ...
 
 

Adaptability a ‘must’ in today’s Air Force

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Three years ago, I entered the Air Force as a general dentist. After completing four challenging years of dental school, I was eager to serve in the Air Force and use my newly developed skills to provide quality care to Airmen. What I quickly came to realize was the misconception that...
 
 

Local Briefs July 18, 2014

355th FW to hold active shooter training exercise July 29, 7 p.m. The 355th Fighter Wing will be conducting an active shooter training exercise starting at approximately 7 p.m. local, Tuesday, July 29. Multiple facilities and locations on base will be affected, but the overall impact to normal operations will be minimal for those who...
 

 
PilotForADay_pict3

Pilot for a Day: Trevor Pahl

. D-M firefighters help Trevor Pahl spray a fire truck. D-M has been supporting the Pilot for a Day program, which was designed to focus on children who have serious or chronic health conditions, for more than 10 years. Airman ...
 
 

Existing tools help users reduce PII breaches

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) – Members of 24th Air Force are refurbishing an old email tool to help Air Force users reduce breaches of personally identifiable information, or PII. The Digital Signature Enforcement Tool, or DSET, which currently prompts users to provide a digital signature when an email contains an active hyperlink or attachment,...
 
 
Loft_pict

The Loft: a way to connect, serve, grow

Are you looking for a way to connect, serve, and grow? Come visit the DMAFB Airman’s Ministry Center, more commonly known as “The Loft!”  The Loft is a center for DM single airmen located on the second floor of building ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin