July 3, 2008 | LtC. Allen West

"These are the times which try Men's souls, the summer Soldier and the sunshine Patriot shall soon fade away", Thomas Paine

These simple words were spoken during our first months of fighting for our American independence as we had suffered many losses. However, coming out of Valley Forge and crossing the Delaware River right before Christmas in 1776 George Washington led us to victory at Trenton and the tide began to turn. Our victory at Saratoga solidified our resolve and inspired the French to lend their resources to our fledgling Country. Even in the south where we faced Gen Cornwallis and suffered several losses we never lost faith in our cause, and found a means to victory, accepting his sword at Yorktown.

Therefore, some 230 plus years later we sit here in this the greatest Country the world has ever known enjoying the blessings of liberty and freedom which many in the world shall never know. However, lest we forget, there are those who would steal away our American rights and freedoms, and as always, our Patriots have answered the call to arms to defend our way of life.

So on this 4th of July, and indeed everyday, may all of us reflect as we gaze upon that "Grand Ole Flag" and remember that Patriotism is not defined by hollow words and empty rhetoric, but rather by American Men and Women who answer the call, with action within their capability. The world basically has three types of people; sheep, wolves, and guard dogs.....God bless our American guard dogs.

Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! Lieutenant Colonel Allen B West (US Army, Ret)