Every person who chooses to dedicate some portion–even a few years–of their life to serve in the United States military takes an oath. An oath was once was considered the most binding of promises, but is not taken very seriously, anymore. It’s kind of like adultery–no big deal.
The oath they take includes this phrase, “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Americans do not swear an oath to a person or an organization, they swear to uphold the very idea that has allowed this great American experiment to exist for 231 years. The Declaration of Independence declared our intent, but it was the Constitution that made us who we are. Why is this important? Why an oath?
Those who take the oath have sworn to defend the Constitution in its entirety–every single part. This includes freedom of speech and the press–not just for those with whom they agree, but especially for those whose views they not only disagree with, but may even absolutely abhor.
Military members know that “to protect and defend” may mean that they are called upon to give the “last full measure,” as Abraham Lincoln called it–giving one’s life, if necessary.
I’ve never seen anything that claims that this oath expires at the end of one’s enlistment, retirement from the military, etc. Therefore, my belief is that it does not expire; there is no “use by date.”
It’s interesting that the President’s oath is more casual, he or she says, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
For what it’s worth I respect those who put their
money where their mouth is their life on the line for their beliefs.