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I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
These words are simple, yet strong. They offer a picture of the ethics and the commitment that our soldiers learn and appropriate to themselves through their training. These are noble ideals and we can see that they are the product of common sense and an awareness of what a soldier commits his or her life to in service of a higher cause than their individual selves.
All of us could take many of these phrases to heart in our own lives. They recognize that we are all in this together, that we, as American citizens, have a responsibility to and for each other.
What if all Americans decided to practice the things mentioned in the Soldier's Creed? What if we Americans recognized that we are a team? What if we all made a commitment to serve one another, or to recognize that the "mission" whatever it is for each of us, ought to always come first, that quitting is not an option, that we will never leave any fellow American to suffer alone? What if we kept ourselves physically and mentally prepared for the experiences of life, if we decided, every day, to commit ourselves to our mutual job, as citizens of the United States of America, to protect and promote our mutual freedoms? Would we have a "more perfect union" than we have right now.
The values expressed in The Soldier's Creed are not unrecognizable to us. When we read them, i suspect that we agree with their wisdom and their ethical confidence.
Of course, these are ideals and we know that "real" life often gets in the way of our living up to our ideals. Soldiers fall short of them as often as any of us do, but they always have these ideals before them, just as we do. Those ideals are always there to remind them of the way things ought to be, indeed, how things can be. Just because life and the demands of ethical behavior are hard, that doesn't mean that they ought to be abandoned. Rather, it means we ought to try harder every day to achieve the ideals we have before us.
May the ideals of The Soldier's Creed remain the core values of our Soldiers. They are noble values worthy of an American warrior. They are values that come from the core of American values.
What would our mutual lives as Americans be like if we could all contemplate them and practice these values together?