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The motivating question for my new book – "The War on Warriors" – was simple and vexing: do I want my sons to follow in my footsteps and serve in the military? I used to think it was automatic; of course I would. But, like most veterans today, that assumption has been shaken to the core. Given the upside-down priorities of the Pentagon, do I really want my kids to serve? I still don’t know for certain. Which is why I waited until the book was complete to collect my thoughts and write the epilogue — "A Letter to My Sons" — which I share below:

Dear Boys,

God granted me the greatest gift I could ever imagine — being your father. It is the highest honor I can imagine, and I take nothing more seriously — and nothing brings me greater earthly joy. I teach you, train you, discipline you and challenge you — because I love you. I love you, like only a father can.

You are all individuals, with different gifts, interests, and passions. Each a child of God — and soon, I pray, men of God. You grew up in a covenant Christian home, which is the most important part of who you — and we — are. Our eternal home is in Christ’s Kingdom, and we strive to love Him with all our heart, and soul and mind. While we have breath, we are also charged with advancing His Kingdom here on earth.

To that end, you are blessed to have been born in the greatest country in human history. You have all studied history, extensively. There have been kingdoms, empires, tyrants and tribes over thousands of years — but none like America. Our Founding Fathers understood that this experiment in self-governance and individual freedom was just that … an experiment. It was the exception to human history, not the rule. It had never been tried.

Almost 250 years later, our Republic still stands. America is still here, but she is on life support. We have turned our back on God, and on our founding principles. We have lost our way.

But we only got this far because men and women — but mostly men — were willing to fight for that freedom, with their "lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor." Many of those men wore a uniform and carried a rifle — from the bridges of Lexington and Concord to the battlefields of Baghdad and Kabul. America is special because it is free, but only free because of special men.

Fighting men.

If you’ve read this book, you know a portion of your father’s journey — from fighting extremists to being deemed one himself. It’s a cautionary tale, for sure. But would I change one thing? Absolutely not. Next to serving God, wearing the uniform of the United States of America is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. Forget basketball. Forget the Ivy League. Forget television. Leading men in combat, with a shared mission — for my country — was the best education I ever received.

Yet, we are at a crossroads. The military I joined in 2001 is not the military of today. It has been captured by leftist forces that have captured the rest of our culture. But unlike schools, unlike churches, and unlike different states — we can’t just replace one we don’t like with one we like better. We have one Pentagon. One military. One Army. If we lose those, we have truly lost America.

It is up to my generation — in government, media and culture — to fight for a change in leadership inside our military. It is an uphill battle to right that ship. But it is up to your generation, even in the face of serious headwinds, to fill the ranks from the inside and impact it from within. It’s up to you to decide if service to country is still worth it.

Is America still worth fighting for?

Is America still worth dying for?

By the time you each reach 18 years of age, we will know more about the answer to those questions. And I will be there to counsel you.

Even with those questions — and even with all the uncertainty — I hope you join the ranks of American fighting men. I encourage you to serve, asking yourself this simple question: If not me, then who? If not Gunner, Jackson, Boone, Luke or Rex Hegseth — who is going to protect America? Are you going to rely on other men, or on women, who have other worldviews to fill the ranks? Just because our military is far from perfect, can we afford to lose her? My answer is no.

If you take that oath, I hope you take it all the way. Your dad didn’t know the difference between the Army and the Marine Corps when he joined. I was not from a military family. But when you join, you will know. And I would urge you to join the best. The SEALs. The Rangers. The Green Berets. Marine Raiders. Not only will you learn the most about yourself, get the best training, and do the most good for your country, but those units are also the least likely — still today — to be infected by the woke virus. Elite units usually skip most of — excuse my language but it’s true — the bullshit.

If my boys are going to raise their right hand, and put the American flag on their shoulders, I want them where it matters. Where real decisions are made, and where meritocracy — for the most part — still reigns. Service to country, with God in your hearts, will take you places and teach you things you will never learn anywhere else. You will be forged, you will be warriors, and you will never regret it. You will join another brotherhood, an elite brotherhood.

I urge you in this consideration to show courage. You are men. Act like it. But if you choose not to serve in uniform, that is your choice. Then my charge for you is to fight and lead at home — because our war is on all fronts.

I love you boys — and pray that your fight, like mine, means your kids (and may you have many!) and my grandkids live in an America that honors God, cherishes freedom, celebrates families, and lives in peace.

In God We Trust, Dad

My opinion may change in four years, when my oldest turns 18. But I hope not. The freedom of America has always been purchased by the courage, sacrifice and blood of young American men willing to step up. We will always need it. The question is, in the next decade — and beyond — will we have a country, and a military, worthy of that courage, sacrifice and blood? That remains to be seen; but count me in to do whatever I can do win the war for our warriors — and our Republic.

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