Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft .
This past May, I presided over a citizenship ceremony at Faneuil Hall, Boston’s historic meeting place where our founders debated issues, argued the merits of public spending, and carried out free elections of leaders – beholden to the people – at a time when that was anything but normal. To this day, Faneuil Hall stands as the “Cradle of Liberty.”
As I spoke to one hundred soon-to-be citizens, I reflected on the oath they were about to take. As members of the U.S. armed forces, we stand among the few that have taken an oath and positively affirmed allegiance to the United States, which includes defending our to Constitution and protecting it from all enemies – foreign and domestic.
When our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution, they created a government based upon liberty and domestic tranquility, established a common defense, and ultimately gave rise to a free society. They knew then that this new society and way of life was worth defending. For more than two centuries, men and women have given their lives to protect those fundamental rights and to defeat those who would challenge our right to be free.
Coast Guard members join a long group of patriots who swear an oath to defend our Constitution and our way of life. Each of us has a story of how we came to take the oath, but whatever the circumstances, whatever the triumphs and toils, the oath we take ties us to early Americans – those who would go on to defeat a foreign power and secure our liberty.
On this Independence Day, we remember our oath. Regardless of which component we serve – active duty, reserve, civilian or auxiliary – we evoke the commitment laid bare by generations before us and recommit our vow to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I am proud of our service and of you. God bless America and Semper Paratus.