Last Saturday, my older daughter received her commission as a 2nd LT into the United States Marine Corps, surrounded by friends, family and fellow marines. A friend of mine from high school wrote a lovely piece about it on Sunday.
During her ceremony, my daughter recited a passage which she had called as a cadence during her platoon's march to the chow hall at Officer Candidate School. While I don't agree with all of Teddy's politics, I do agree with the sentiment of this passage from his speech in Paris, 23 April 1910:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
After reciting the passage, my daughter said, "I guess, I am the woman in the arena." Indeed she is.
Having thought about it for a couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that there are many women who are fighting for our country abroad and at home, in the military as well as civilian life. In ways that often are not recognized, we, too, fight the good fight as we raise patriots, nudge our friends with Facebook postings, vote for conservatives on school boards, make our community a better place with small kindnesses to others instead of reliance on government. We do not take steel bullets, but we fight as we walk the conservative walk.
But, now, the time is short, as we are headed for fiscal ruin and the loss of our country's moral foundation. We must wrest control from the statists who have put us on this path to oblivion. There is so much that we can do - register conservative voters, become active with your local tea party, join the longstanding volunteer force for conservative candidates, become a precinct committeeman. It is time to take the next step, and even if we stumble, to know that we are striving valiantly.
It is time for us all to be The Woman in The Arena.