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  • Andre Lamartin

A Family Left Behind

Somewhere in the US there are two girls growing up without a father. Somewhere in the US there is a wife who still pines for her husband. Sacrificing one’s life while fighting in a just war is commendable well beyond the normal measure of words. But doing so at the personal expense of your own family demands an altruistic level of valor, bravery and patriotic zeal that humbles me into contemplative admiration. Military distinctions notwithstanding, the best way to honor Sergeant Chapman is to acknowledge the true meaning of his sacrifice. Yesterday it was Al-Qaeda, today it is the Islamic State, tomorrow it might be Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Whomever the enemy may be, the object of extremist ire remains the same: women’s rights, the separation of church and state, freedom of religion and the most basic tenets of democratic governance. In other words, counterterrorism is not simply about saving innocent lives, laudable as this goal may be. It is about defending the central principles of Western Civilization. I graduated from a university whose official motto was “In the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.” I always dreamt about coming across a fellow human being who truly epitomized these words. Now I have.

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