What's Still Great

The Men and Women of July 4

Who and what protects us day by day?

By 6.29.09

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Let's be honest. The world is in a terrible mess. The North Koreans have nuclear bombs and are getting closer to having a missile that can deliver them to America. They are also endlessly whipping up tension in their area of Asia and the Pacific. There could be war and the North Koreans have a formidable military.

Then there's Iran, which is getting close to having nukes and already has at least some missiles. What will the world look like when Iran, which has stated its ambition to simply destroy Israel, has nuclear weapons and the means to drop them on Israel or Paris or New York?

In other words, there is a lot of danger looking down the road.

Yet, here in America, even in a recession, life is pretty lush for most of us: plenty to eat, in fact too much to eat. Air conditioning. Our families. Our dogs.

We swim back and forth in the warm pool of American comfort day by day.

And who and what protects us day by day? Who will have to face North Korea and Iran if the war comes? The men and women of the military. They sleep when they can in miserable Forward Operating Bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. They get shot at, mortared, rocketed, sniped at, ambushed by IED's, come back home with limbs blown off or in body bags, shell shocked and lonely.

Their families wait in brave terror and dread anticipation.

And we swim in our pools and complain.

On the Fourth, let's spare some prayer for the men and women who make America safe, who keep the wolf far from the door -- as the American serviceman and woman always have; From Saratoga to Belleau Wood to Iwo Jima to Bastogne to Pusan to Khe Sanh to Iraq and Afghanistan, they have been there paying with their blood for our comfort and freedom. If we have freedom to celebrate again this year, it has been paid for, again, in the currency of the lives and limbs of the American fighting man and woman and their families. God bless them forever.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.