portrait_bf240 years ago some brave statesmen adopted our Declaration of Independence from the tyrannous Great Britain. Their signatures were treason and punishable by death. Their signatures and courage to stand up was a declaration of war on the most powerful nation on the planet. Have we let our forefathers down as many claim?

It is scary to think about whether we have lost our purpose as a nation. Many say we are drifting so far away from the Constitution and that our current government leaders (and those currently running for office) are more worried about elections than making things better. I think about our nation today and wonder if our leaders would have the courage to do the same thing. Have we deteriorated the moral fabric of our country?

“This new generation of Airmen really is not as respectful as we were. They have it so easy and yet still want everything handed to them.” Sound familiar? This is what a lot of complain about today; however, the exact same complaint was made about my generation and we are all now SNCOs and we made the same comments about this generation of NCOs when they Airmen. This is not a new issue at all, “The youth have never been more insolent.” This is a paraphrased quote from the minister Thomas Barnes back in 1624. This is before the forefathers who penned the Declaration of Independence were even born. The point is, each generation has questioned the character of the up and coming youth.

Different is not bad. I will definitely say there have been a lot of changes over the years and the way I was treated as an Airman was worse than today. We did not have our own dorm rooms at first. Base facilities were very basic and the opportunities offered by base recreation centers are amazing comparatively. However, the generation that preceded me made things better for me and hopefully my generation has done the same for the next. When we can make life better, we are not worried about basic things and can focus on other issues.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” In many ways, the initial intent (at least the wording) of the Declaration of Independence has never been truer than they are today. It took 89 from our birth to abolish slavery; 144 years for women to have the right to vote; 188 years to end segregation; and 234 years to accept gays into the military. Although we do go way overboard on the politically correct stuff, we are finally at a place in our history where we are looking at all Men as equals.

When I look at why I serve my nation it is because I want my children to never look at others as if they are less or not valued like another. I want them to look at those around them as having equal rights and privileges. I want them to understand how each American makes our nation great and has a lot to offer. Just because they may not agree with another’s views or lifestyle, they are still able to contribute to society. I am actually very excited and hopeful that in my lifetime the residual racism and discrimination against others’ lifestyles will fade to a point where we stop fighting for a place at the table and start fighting to push our nation forward. Even though Ben Franklin might offer some dissent about this generation, I am excited to see to what new heights we will rise.

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