On this Veteran’s Day, let’s thank our active duty and retired soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

On this Veteran’s Day, we pause to remember those who have worn the uniform and the cause of freedom for which they have fought.

Honoring veterans is particularly important for South Carolina. We earned the distinction “battleground of freedom” honestly, as more battles in the American War for Independence were fought here than in any other state. These Revolutionary War skirmishes were often brother against brother. King’s Mountain, the turning point in the American Revolution, was a battle joined entirely by American rebel and loyalist militias. No Redcoats.

As my fifth-grade teacher impressed upon me, in that defining struggle for freedom, there were decisive South Carolina battles, and there were South Carolina heroes too. They don’t come any braver than Thomas Sumter, Andrew Pickens, Francis Marion…or William Jasper.

Jasper isn’t as well known. He wasn’t a general or a colonel, or even a lieutenant, and he didn’t earn a reputation for valor over years, but for action over the course of a few minutes.

When a British cannonball struck the South Carolina battle standard that summer day in 1776 at Fort Sullivan (later Moultrie), it was Sergeant William Jasper who reacted instantly, braving enemy fire to retrieve the flag from outside the fort and restoring it to its place of honor on a makeshift pole made of a cannon ramrod. A patriot in the cause of freedom, William Jasper couldn’t bear for his nation, in the form of its flag, to be attacked, denigrated, ignored.

What about us? Our challenge today is no different than Jasper’s. Our troops are deployed around the world struggling for a free future against those who would take mankind into a new Dark Age.

In South Carolina we fight for the future as well, struggling against fractured family life that if not checked soon will enslave us to poverty, ignorance, lawlessness, and the fiscal bankruptcy that comes from expanded expensive government services. According to Ben Scafidi of Georgia State, South Carolina’s annual tab is already $469 million.

On this Vets Day, let’s thank our active duty and retired soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. I think especially of those who fought in Indochina and never got the hero’s welcome they deserved.*

Let’s also re-commit ourselves to our homes and our families. More than any other, it is the cause for which our nation’s heroes have fight and die.

*Rev. Dave Roever is working to rectify this, as I saw last Friday night at Community Bible Church in Beaufort. In an incredibly moving service, the Vietnam vet and internationally known evangelist invited every vet of that war to come forward. As we watched and applauded, Mr. Roever publicly shook hands with everyone who served in Vietnam and quietly whispered “Welcome home.”

Dr. Oran Smith

Former President & CEO

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