By Rick Steeby
At age fourteen, I decided I would join the Army…at the time there was a ‘conflict’ in Southeast Asia. My dad served in Korea and has a couple Purple Hearts in a drawer that he doesn’t talk about, if there are scars I haven’t seen them yet. His older brothers served in WWII, one came home and the other was MIA, later confirmed killed as a POW in Philippians. My Grandfather and his brother were in France in WWI, grandpa came home, his brother is buried in France.
I was doing research on my name, John Steeby, because I know that since coming to this country there has been a continuous string of John Steeby’s and I came across one buried in Kentucky. He died there as a Union soldier who left Kentucky to join the Union Forces in Ohio, only to return and die preserving the union.
I am sure that there are more, perhaps, some of my relation have been dying here before Columbus was here. Perhaps, some of them were responsible for killing a relative on my grandmothers side, a Colonel in the Virginia Regiment of the US Army sent to Ohio to negotiate with the Indians that was massacred by Tecumseh’s brother.
I don’t claim any privileged status and, to my knowledge, there were no famous war heroes in the family past, but, they all seemed to answer the call when they were needed by their country. Our family is not unique in this sacrifice, there are millions of ordinary Americans who have family that answered the call when it was their time.
Three times in our country’s history whole generations were marked by sacrifice for their country. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Greatest Generation – World War Two. I believe we have come upon another turning point that will define a generation. The boomers will move on, possibly before history will define the outcome of this generation’s choice, but, regardless of what direction they go, they will be defined by their choice to either revert back to constitutional government or move toward socialism and the downfall of this free republic.
To be a patriot doesn’t require a long history with this country. Many who were immigrants fought, first generation, to preserve freedom against tyrannical leaders from their homeland because they came to America to be free, and, so fought with as Americans to keep the world free. Some American ancestors came as slaves and some former slaves and their descendants have fought on the side of freedom since before their own families were set free.
We have sold our freedoms a little at a time for the thought of security. Now, in the name of security, government can tell you to buy insurance and imprison you if you don’t. Governments like that will soon tell you what work you can do and bar you from what you may want to do. Then it is only a short step to determining if you are a drain on the society as opposed to a producer. If you are not a producer then you have no value to the government.
We have taken the biggest step to allowing government to run our lives because, up ’til now, “We the People” held the power through the blood of Patriots. Blood that gave us a nation and a Constitution, and we have sold the that heritage that many in my family paid for in their blood. The latest buried at Arlington National Cemetery who died during operation Iraqi Freedom.
Will this generation be known again for saving the Union and Freedom in the world or know as the last free Americans?
John R. Steeby
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