Editor’s Note: Teddy Roosevelt has always been one of my heroes. He was a man of action who suffered no excuses. The other day as I was reading yet another story on how we are struggling to meet our minimum military enlistment requirements, I thought to myself, “What would old TR have to say about this?” Fortunately, with a bit of help from Open AI I found out. The results are below. Enjoy! — GDM
My fellow Americans, this is Theodore Roosevelt speaking, the 26th President of the United States. A man known for my time as a Rough Rider and for upholding the values of courage, honor, and duty. It is with an air of urgency and concern that I address you today on a matter of national importance.
I have observed, with a growing unease, that our great nation is faced with a peculiar predicament. Today, we face a crisis that threatens the very fabric of our society, a crisis of will and of resolve. It appears that the young men of our nation are shying away from joining the service, from donning the uniform, and answering the call of duty. Now, this is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Many have speculated on why this is the case, with theories ranging from a lack of adequate motivation to the attractions of a comfortable civilian life. But let me tell you, it is my firm belief that the reason lies not in the present, but in the past.
In my day, the spirit of adventure and the thirst for glory were the driving forces of manhood. The very idea of service was entwined with the notions of honor, courage, and patriotism.
In today’s world, these ideals seem to have been cast aside in favor of convenience and comfort. The fires of patriotism appear to be dwindling in the hearts of our youth, replaced by an inclination for personal gain and self-preservation. We must understand that this path does not lead to the growth and prosperity of our nation, nor does it cultivate the character of our men.
Now, as for what I would do about it, the solution, I believe, lies in rekindling those dormant sparks of valor and dedication that I firmly believe still reside in the hearts of our young men.
Firstly, we must emphasize the value of service, not just as a duty to the nation, but as a rite of passage into manhood. It is not simply about taking orders and marching in lines, but about character building, instilling discipline, and understanding the value of teamwork and unity. It is about learning to put the needs of others before one’s own, to make sacrifices for the greater good. This is a message we must drive home.
Secondly, we must ensure that our armed forces are adequately equipped and our soldiers are well-compensated. A man who knows that his efforts are valued and rewarded is more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty. Our young men should see the military as a viable career path, offering not just a chance for personal growth, but also a secure future.
** Take a couple of minutes and listen to TR’s speech below to hear it directly from the man himself.
Furthermore, we should encourage physical fitness and toughness from a young age. A fit body fosters a fit mind, and a fit mind is a fertile ground for the seeds of courage and valor. Our educational institutions should play a key role here, fostering a culture of physicality and resilience.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we must reinstate a sense of national pride. Our young men need to understand the significance of their roles as potential protectors of the nation. We need to celebrate our veterans and active duty soldiers, making sure that their sacrifices and their courage are not forgotten, but are instead held up as the highest examples of American spirit and valor.
In the end, the course of a nation is determined not by the decisions of the few in power, but by the collective will of its people. So, let us remind our young men of the nobility of service, let us reward their courage with more than just words, and let us nurture in them the spirit of American pride and valor. Only then, I am certain, will we see them rise to the occasion, ready and willing to serve our great nation.
Remember, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” It is a principle that applies not just to the individual, but to us as a nation. It is a principle that will guide us through this crisis, and any other that may come our way. For we are Americans, and we are no strangers to overcoming adversity.
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