Editorial: Vets, sacrifice, war powers

Falling on the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I — “the war to end all wars” — Veterans Day 2018 strikes chords of history and memory: one honors the patriotism and willingness to sacrifice shown by all who wear the nation’s uniform and agree to put their lives at risk, if so ordered; another abhors that such sacrifices are, in troubled times, necessary to protect the nation and its freedom.

Ridgefielders should turn out Sunday, Veterans Day, at 11 a.m. — “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” echoing the armistice — and join veterans groups gathering at the memorial in front of Lounsbury House to honor all who served their nation, and pay tribute to their willingness to sacrifice. Some lost a couple of years from the progress of their careers. Others lost an arm, a leg, or the full use of a limb. For some, the loss was innocence, peace of mind, the gift of a sound night’s sleep. Others lost their very lives.

Among those who gather Sunday to honor the veterans, many will have memories of men and women who made sacrifices for their country — sometimes, the greatest sacrifice.

In addition to the tributes and Taps, the salutes and speeches, the veterans of past wars and service are owed some commitments.

The nation’s military should be maintained at a size and strength to dissuade other nations from attacking the United States — the best defense is have other nations afraid to start wars with us.

And the lives of the men and women serving the nation must be put at risk only when necessary — and approved by Congress under the war powers act. No presidents ordering police actions to prop up friendly dictators, or “military advisers” slipping into combat roles.

The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clauses 11 through 16 clearly assign to Congress the power “to declare war … to raise and support armies … to provide and maintain a navy … to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces … to provide for the calling forth the militia… ”

The Founding Fathers had it right.

The nation owes a great deal to its veterans: honor, and a commitment that American lives are put at risk only in wars that are both just and necessary.