By Jane Hampton Cook
After a year in which a pandemic has killed 3 million worldwide, it is fitting to remember on Memorial Day that more U.S. soldiers died from disease than from weapons in America’s first war, the Revolutionary War.
“I have spent an hour, this morning, in the congregation of the dead,” John Adams wrote on April 13, 1777, after walking past Philadelphia’s mass grave of 2,000 soldiers. “And I never in my whole life was affected with so much melancholy. The graves of the soldiers . . . dead of the small pox, and camp diseases, are enough to make the heart of stone melt away.”
Adams concluded: “Disease has destroyed ten men for us, where the sword of the enemy has killed one.” By the war’s end 17,000 soldiers had died from disease and 6,800 had been killed in combat.
Today, the grave that Adams saw is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution. The memorial’s plaque reminds visitors of the cost of freedom: “Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington’s army who died to give you liberty.”
Whether the soldiers died from disease or a weapon, they were united in fighting for liberty based on the Declaration of Independence’s central philosophy: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Each major civil rights movement – abolishing slavery, women’s voting rights, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s – claimed and applied that philosophy to their movement and cause. I wrote about this in my book Resilience on Parade: Short Stories of Suffragists and Women’s Battle for the Vote.
Today, one of the rising threats against America and the military is cultural Marxism in the form of critical race theory, which is not based on the Declaration of Independence’s hopeful philosophy, but is rooted in Marxism. It’s part of communism’s unrestricted warfare in the cultural area. Unrestricted warfare also includes biowarfare, cyberwarfare and other non-traditional forms of warfare.
An important question to consider this Memorial Day day is this: will men and women be willing to voluntarily join the military and die for America in the future if Marxism takes hold in the military? Many in the military community are concerned about this very question.
“Our Nation is in deep peril. We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776,” an open letter from more than 160 retired generals and admirals declared in May 2021 (flagofficers4America.com). “The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty.”
They described the federal government as taking “a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government.” They warned against “forcing politically correct policies like the divisive critical race theory into the military” because it “damages morale and war fighting cohesion.”
Someone who has seen that damage up close is Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, who recently lost his U.S. Space Force command for expressing similar concerns.
“Since taking command as a commander about 10 months ago, I saw what I consider fundamentally incompatible and competing narratives of what America was, is and should be. That wasn’t just prolific in social media or throughout the country during this past year, but it was spreading throughout the United States military. And I had recognized those narratives as being Marxist in nature,” Lohmeier told radio host Steve Gruber as he described his new book Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military.
“Our military services are trusted for a reason because we don’t engage in the political realm in the manner like citizens sometimes to do,” Lohmeier recently told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “The kinds of things you see in the cultural revolution, in Mao’s cultural revolution 1966 are a mirror reflection of what we saw over the past year in this country.”
“Then when I see that seeping out into the United States military, I think, OK. I need to bring this up because this is a terrible problem. If our military institution becomes vulnerable to this kind of divisive rhetoric, then we are doomed as a country,” he said of this playbook Marxism, noting that many military members are put off by it.
Lohmeier explained that critical race theory is rooted in Marxism. It divides people into categories, either as oppressors or victims, solely based on skin color. Why would someone voluntarily die for Marxism?
“Because to hear that they are oppressed because of their race, let’s say, and that the country is systemically racist, why would you want to serve? Why would you put your life on the line to defend that?” Lohmeir said, noting that the skin color and politics of his fellow military members doesn’t matter to him.
“And on the other hand if you’re a white male, and you are told that you are an oppressor and that you’re a big part of the problem or that you’re an extremist because you are conservative who voted for Donald Trump, you’re going to start asking some questions, do I even have the desire to serve in the military?”
If you teach people to hate their country, they will not put their life on the line for it. That is the whole point of Marxism; to steal people’s love of country, create chaos and lack of unity among the American people. If this takes root in the military, eventually it will revert to a draft instead of a volunteer army.
“This is the most successful multiracial country in human history and it’s because of the greatness of the American ideal,” Lohmeier concludes.
This ideal is beautifully depicted in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution, which declares: “Freedom is a light for which many have died in darkness.”
Others in the military need to speak up internally and go public. Members of Congress need to hold the military accountable. Americans need to educate themselves on cultural Marxism. We honor those who died for freedom on Memorial Day by doing our part to uphold it now.
Jane Hampton Cook is the author of Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War and other historical books.