Today is a very big day.
The Army R.O.T.C. Golden Knight Battalion senior class, graduating in 2010 (of which I am thrilled to be a member), will take their oath of office and commission as second lieutenants in the United States Army. Along with them thousands of other Army R.O.T.C. cadets will also raise their hand and pledge to perform the duties of a military officer.
The Soldier-Citizen-Sapien Project congratulates the Golden Knight Battalion senior cadets, and all the other cadets around the country who swear their oath today, or will in the very near future.
The Senior Military Advisor of the Golden Knight Battalion distributed his traditional gift – pocket copies of the United States Constitution – to the future lieutenants, and reminded us about the significance of our oath of office. The most important thing, he stressed, was our commitment to “supporting and defending” the founding document of the United States of America – no matter who was in charge of the Army at the moment, or what personal sentiments we each carried for the policies of the country. We were swearing our oath to an ideal, not a king or a government.
Exploring the American ideal, as embodied by the Constitution, is beyond the scope of what I intend to write here. However, I can muse briefly about the oath of office.
I, _____ , having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of second lieutenant, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.
This oath holds a lot of meaning for those who take it, and it holds a lot of meaning for me as I will soon take it. I am not only proud of my oath, the constitution, and what this country has meant for so long, but I am happy to have an opportunity to serve my country in this way. I am happy to serve my country as a defender of innocent people, who will enjoy the life and freedom that I provide with my vigilance.
When you examine the oath with this mind of service, a spirit jumps out at you that makes you proud of what you are swearing. This spirit, I suggest, is the American spirit. A spirit of service, and passion for life and freedom, deserved by everyone.
Again, I congratulate the thousands of cadets who are taking this oath today and becoming Army officers.
Today is a very big day.