Courage, bravery, honor, valor…these are but a few of the timeless tributes used to memorialize the silhouette of the American soldier. Yet these fabled words pale in comparison to the greatest embodiment of our Armed Forces: love. Love is the saluted soul of their service, the intrinsic calling of a sacred duty, and the billowing breath of an enduring creed. Love of country, family, and most of all, love of liberty – God’s most precious and nonnegotiable gift – moves ordinary men and women to confront the most unconscionable forms of evil, to stand guard in the growing shadow of tyranny, when most would flee or kneel before the ruddy sword of subjugation. And despite the willingness of these selfless volunteers to sacrifice their lives upon the altar of freedom, to die so hope and humanity may endure, there are still those Americans who blissfully desecrate the flag, disparage their native country, or callously mock the deaths of our fallen soldiers; the etched names and fading faces of liberty’s flickering light. Whether out of opposition to war, a political party or economic plight, these voices of malcontent neither appreciate nor comprehend that without cost, a willingness and strength to withstand both harm and societal scorn, neither America nor the rights of the righteous few – those shouting injustice from the comfort of their couches or cheering the opportunistic cowardice of ignited anarchy – would duly exist. America goes far beyond the tangible boundaries of sovereignty or the disputed legacy of any politician; it resides in the indomitable ideal we are all born free, for better or for worse, and any attempt to usurp that dignity is a threat to all mankind: to our children, our hallowed way of life. This often forsaken duty resides in the folded flags of everyday citizens who put principle before politics, love before hate, and democracy before despair. It survives in the beating heart of the American soldier. God Bless our fallen heroes and God Bless America; forever, and still, that shining city on a hill.