DUBLIN — White Lake resident Lt. Col. Jim Newman, retired USAF, was the featured speaker at the Veterans Day program at Bladen Community College. He spoke on the subject “Freedom: A Collective Responsibility.”
He began his presentation by thanking all the veterans who had served in the armed forces over the generations. He pointed out that each had a part in preserving the freedoms the United States strives to provide under the Constitution. He stated that since the conflict in the Middle East began, more than 50,000 veterans have returned home with severe wounds and disabilities, both physical and emotional.
“They have paid a very high price for their service,” he said. “Each person who enters military service and dons a uniform writes a virtual check. It is made payable to the people of the United States of America. The amount of that check reads: ‘Up to and including my life.’ And the memo line simply reads: ‘For freedom.’
“Why do they serve?” he asked. “I believe they serve because deep down inside, they know the United States of America, and the freedoms we enjoy, are worth protecting. I also believe they serve because of their individual values and their belief that military service is honorable.”
Newman said that the beauty of the United States Constitution and the Republic is that they are supposed to be “of the people, by the people and for the people.” He pointed out that this is why the military is under the control of civilians, beginning with the president.
He said that freedom is visible and that he had seen the impact of freedom on societies throughout much of his life. He pointed out one such incident while in high school in Germany, when he traveled to East Berlin from his residence in West Berlin. He said the difference between the two was remarkable, which convinced him of how important it is to protect our freedoms.
“I would urge everyone here to become knowledgeable, and acutely aware of the challenges our country faces,” he said. “Take the time to read the Constitution and understand it. Take the time to know what the current issues are that seem to be dividing the country. Take a stance based on your own critical thinking. If you think the country is going down the wrong path, write to your representative. Become a part of guiding the Republic in the right direction.
“Why would I ask you to do these things? It is quite simple really. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Ask yourself this one question. Who is responsible for ensuring my children and my grandchildren grow up in a country that guarantees their freedom of religion, speech, and their right to privacy? It is the responsibility of ‘We the People.’ All of us,” he said.
In concluding, he pointed out that dangers lurk around us which threaten our way of life. He stated that it is our responsibility to protect the freedoms that each of us enjoys under the Constitution.”