The freedom of speech is vital to our society. I pledge to protect it even though some people abuse that freedom in vile ways. To do anything else would lead us down a slippery slope toward tyranny.
The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As a veteran, I have witnessed speech that should make all Americans ashamed, but I still stand up for the rights of the speakers. My great grandfather fought in World War I, my father is a World War II veteran and I served my country in both Vietnam as an infantryman and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007 at age 56. In 2005, I escorted a fellow soldier home from Dover after he was killed by a sniper in downtown Iraq. I knew him and I helped train him before his deployment.
Performing the duty as his final escort home was a difficult mission that I was honored to perform. What is disheartening, and saddens me are the people who protest at a soldier's funeral. It turns my stomach sour to see people protesting against an individual who made the ultimate sacrifice in support of the protesters rights. I must take a deep breath, shake my head in disgust and move forward. The U. S. Constitution, like the Bible, is my guiding light to what is proper and right. The Constitution makes little distinction between what is good and bad protesting. It makes no value judgments. It is what it is and I must stand by in defense of the freedom of speech, even for those people who I strongly oppose.