03 July 2016

4th of July: Flying the Stars & Stripes of Freedom...

The United States of America celebrates 240 years tomorrow.  The Stars and Stripes of our flag will be flying high.  How far we have come and yet we still envision that we have so far to go.

Celebrating the 4th of July in the United States means different things to different people.  It all depends on your tenure here and how you have contributed to defending the freedoms we all share. And for those who have made the trip to our borders or overseas to defend our country, we give special thanks.

Nine years ago we saluted Spencer S. on Memorial Day, as he prepared to make his way to being deployed to Iraq.  An Airborne Medic and now home safe in Chicago, we are thinking about him and all those other families who have sent their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, or fathers and mothers into harms way to defend our freedom.  We are humbled by your courage and thank you for your selfless contributions to keep us more safe and secure back home.

The Patriots of the U.S. are vast and found everywhere, serving the country in uniform by military or law enforcement, in suits and ties or dresses among the halls of government agencies found in small towns and famous suburbs like Langley.  These millions of shadow patriots and citizen soldiers are working to defend the truth of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution each day.

At the same time, they are all Operational Risk Managers, mitigating the daily risks to life, property and our vital economic assets.  Mike Stanley of the American Legion captures the essence of the early days of our country:
The United States of America began as thirteen different English colonies established along the eastern seaboard during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Gradually many of the colonists began to think of themselves more as Americans and less as Englishmen, a feeling that was spurred on by the decision of the British Parliament in the 1760s to tax the colonies for the expenses associated with keeping them in the British Empire. Since the colonists had no elected representatives in the British Parliament, they felt that these new taxes were “taxation without representation” and therefore, illegal.
From this point, the situation escalated quickly as Patriot groups formed to discuss the possibilities, and by the early 1770s, the Patriots had their own Provincial Congresses in each of the thirteen colonies, effectively replacing the representatives of the British government. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress was established, the Continental Army was organized, and fighting broke out when the British responded by sending combat troops to the colonies.
Finally, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, establishing the United States of America. The fierce determination of the Patriots to prevail, plus the important military and political support of the French, the Spanish and; the Dutch, insured an American victory, and in 1783, the signing of the Treaty of Paris ended the American War of Independence and guaranteed the sovereignty of the United States of America.
Conflicts in the 21st century will be fought for many of the same reasons, and with a revolution of robots.  In P.W. Singer's book, "Wired for War" he prepares us for the next 100 years:
What happens when science fiction becomes battlefield reality?
An amazing revolution is taking place on the battlefield, starting to change not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. This upheaval is already afoot -- remote-controlled drones take out terrorists in Afghanistan, while the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years. But it is only the start. Military officers quietly acknowledge that new prototypes will soon make human fighter pilots obsolete, while the Pentagon researches tiny robots the size of flies to carry out reconnaissance work now handled by elite Special Forces troops.
Wired for War takes the reader on a journey to meet all the various players in this strange new world of war: odd-ball roboticists working in latter-day “skunk works” in the midst of suburbia; military pilots flying combat mission from their office cubicles outside Las Vegas; the Iraqi insurgents who are their targets; journalists trying to figure out just how to cover robots at war; and human rights activists wrestling with what is right and wrong in a world where our wars are increasingly being handed over to machines.
Maybe someday, Spencer will be able to stay hundreds or thousands of miles out of harms way to defend our countries freedoms, because they won't need medics on the battlefield anymore.
...and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. 

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