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The Daily Tribune News: Loudermilk speaks at Legion ceremony

  • American Legion 4.jpg
The Daily Tribune News:


District 11 U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk was the guest speaker for the American Legion Carl Boyd Post 42 Veterans Day ceremony in Cartersville on Nov. 11.

The Republican was recently re-elected to Congress, besting Democratic challenger Antonio Daza by a roughly 63% to 37% margin in the Nov. 8 general election.

“We come together every year and take a few moments out of our time to remember those who served, and quite frankly, continue serving,” Loudermilk said. “We never quit serving our country, even though we may leave the active service, hang our uniforms up and take on a civilian identity and a civilian life — we still are bound by that oath we took when we first entered the military.

Loudermilk, a member of Post 42, previously served in the United States Air Force.

“It’s very similar to the oath that I took when I was in the State Legislature and State Senate,” he continued. “It’s to defend the Constitution … which is beyond just defending a piece of paper, it’s defending a set of values, a set of principles, a set of ideas.”

Freedom, he contended, is volatile and always under attack.

“It will always be threatened, whether internally or externally,” he said. “That means that commitment has to continue, because if we ever step back away from defending our freedoms and liberties, we will lose them. We’ve come very close, many times in this country, to losing those things, those ideas, those principles, the morals of our country.”

Sometimes those battlefields are abroad and sometimes they are on domestic soil, Loudermilk said.

“And it’s been within the halls of our government,” he continued.

Loudermilk contrasted the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

“One was successful in achieving freedom and liberty and the other was not,” he said. “The difference between the two is that in France, there was oppression, there was suppression of rights just as we were seeing in the United States, or in the colonial America at the time. But what happened in France is, the group that was rebelling against the oppression then became the oppressors against those who had been the oppressor — all that happened was the oppression shifted from one group to another.”

Conversely, Loudermilk contended that the Founding Fathers of America recognized that rights stemmed not from the government, but from a higher power.

“It was not government that gave them liberty, it was liberty that was given to them by God,” he said. “And they perceived that government’s role was to protect those things that God had given them.”

At one point, he referenced a speech given by James Garfield in 1876.

“They were starting to see that government was shifting away and that it was becoming corrupt and it was not representing the people properly,” Loudermilk said. “If your government or congress is reckless, ignorant and corrupt, it’s because the people accept recklessness, ignorance and corruption.”

Government, he said, is simply a reflection of the culture and the “engagement” of the people.

“Earlier this week was the opportunity, it was the moment that we have that we exercise those first three words of the Constitution, ‘we the people,’” Loudermilk said, referencing the general election. “That was the difference between those two revolutions, but we have continued to fight and continue to fight these days to preserve those ideas, those principles.”

He reflected on the selflessness of the troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

“They were not doing it for themselves, and there was nothing in it for them,” Loudermilk said. “But there was everything in it for their families back home. They stepped off of that craft for those basic ideas and principles that they enjoyed in their childhood — that their family, their brothers, their sisters, possibly their children, their sweethearts — would be able to enjoy.”

Freedom, Loudermilk said, cannot persist in a society where individuals only care about “what’s in it for me.”

“But as long as we dedicate ourselves to the ideas that our founders implemented in this nation, we have a nation that is free,” he said. “We have a republic, if we can keep it, as Benjamin Franklin said.”

Giving opening remarks at the ceremony was Post 42 Commander Kristopher Dittrich.

“On this day, Veterans Day, we are commemorating the service of veterans of all wars,” he said. “We remember how men and women set aside their civilian pursuits to serve this nation’s cause — defend the freedom of mankind and preserving our precious American heritage.”

Among other values, he described sacrifice, tolerance, bravery and discipline as the “foundation stones” of America.

“In our continuing quest for an honorable world peace, we must cultivate these virtues,” he said.

He concluded his time at the podium by reciting verses from the Cheryl Dyson poem “Veterans Day.”

“Soldiers young and soldiers old fought for freedom brave and bold,” he quoted the prose. “We’re proud of all of the soldiers who kept thinking of red, white and blue — they fought for us and all our rights, they fought through many days and nights. And though we may not know each name, we thank all veterans just the same.” READ MORE