Dana Street’s photo of Jennifer, Erin, & Jeff Hawkins at Erin’s USMC Recruit Training graduation party at Westside Church of Christ

Invitation to Celebrate

We invite our fellow citizens to stand with uncovered heads during the playing of our National Anthem. It is a simple act, but it celebrates and demonstrates our gratitude for the past, present, and future military service by patriotic men and women to protect and preserve our constitutional rights and liberties. This article encourages our fellow Americans to celebrate the remaining Military Appreciation Month observances and all other patriotic occasions because we appreciate our Armed Forces’ protection of those rights and liberties.

A Season to Honor the Honorable

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

  • A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  • A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  • A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  • A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  • A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  • A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  • A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace (The Bible, King James Version).

May is a season to the US Armed Forces and military service members’ families. Congress prompted us to show that honor and respect when it designated May as designated May as Military Appreciation Month in 1999. The month’s six American military-themed observance days include Loyalty Day, Tuesday, May 1, 2018; Public Service Recognition Week, Sunday, May 6 – Saturday, May 12, 2018; Victory in Europe Day, Tuesday, May 8, 2018; Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Friday, May 11, 2018; Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 19, 2018; and  Memorial Day on Monday, May 28, 2018.

Constitutional Freedom and Responsibility

US Armed Forces’ service members swear an oath when they enter military service to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Their military service is part of the social contract through which the Constitution establishes our freedoms, but contractual benefits rarely exist without corresponding obligations. American Constitutional obligations include electing governmental leaders, observing laws enacted by our elected leaders, paying taxes to support the government, and supporting our nation’s health and prosperity through honorable and patriotic conduct. Americans can become drunk on unlimited freedom, including freedom of speech, unless they accept the balancing responsibilities of honor and patriotism.

Past and Present Patriotism Controversies

A contract is only as good as the people entrusted to fulfill it. The American Constitutional contract has endured in spite of some citizens’ contractual defaults. Many Americans failed to honor US military veterans during and after the Vietnam War, and their disrespect helped to suppress national morale for more than a decade. Today, a few celebrities promote protests against social and racial injustice by kneeling and leaving their heads covered during the playing of our National Anthem. History will judge those protests’ effectiveness, but we doubt that history will deal with them kindly.

Stand, Uncover, and Show Honor

Our Armed Forces’ service members serve modestly and with little fanfare while they defend protesters’ rights. Their honorable service deserves our gratitude and respect because our rights depend upon their service. We reinforce and proclaim America’s strength when we honor our Armed Forces, the Constitution that they defend, and the Flag and Anthem that represents America’s venerable heritage and virtuous aspirations. In our opinion, we display honor most effectively when we uncover our heads, face the American Flag, stand at attention, and place our hands over our hearts when we hear the Star Spangled Banner. We encourage our fellow citizens to show citizenship pride at every opportunity because American pride honors and strengthens our nation and its noble defenders, the US Armed services.

About the Authors

Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers and active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation;  a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Indiana Association of Mediators; and he was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.

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