A Letter to My Son
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A Letter to My Son
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I Don't Write Letters Well...

I like to think I write screenplays better. Maybe I'm wrong about that, too. Oh, well.

My son Christopher has elected to pursue a career in the United States Navy. Given the perils that face our country, I thought he might need one last letter from dear old Dad. I hope I didn't overdo it. You tell me. The letter is below. You might want to write Christopher and encourage him in his career in the Navy. Read responses from people like you here.


Christopher Welty (left), his now married big sister Jamie Larson (center), and his little sister Rebecca Welty (right). Mr. Welty's picture is on his home page, the fellow at the typewriter.

July 18, 2005

Some Reflections from a Father to a Son Entering Into Service of His Country

Dear Christopher,

I wanted to take some time to write a short note to you on this the day of your entry into the United States Navy.

Our country faces challenges — no, let me say it stronger— threats, from within and from without, the likes of which it has never faced in its 225+ year history.

You have made a choice to serve your country, to embark on a career in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. And I am very pleased, proud even, as I and your friends and family see you off today as you begin your Basic Training. My father served this country during World War II as a Marine, you know. I was not able to serve due to physical limitations on my vision, although I tried twice in my high school years to qualify for the Air Force Academy.

In two months or so, you will be engaged in studies in the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Engineering program and you will face many challenges in the coming years ahead. I am confident that you will overcome the challenges, both academic and physical, that you will face. But the toughest challenge will lie within, I think. And I speak not just of academics. I speak of faith and trust, of confidence and conscience.

I speak of faith, not because you evidence a lack of it. On the contrary, your faith in God forms the basis of your life, the choices you have made, and the actions you take. But there will be many you meet who have no such firm foundation. Some of these may be in command over you; others may be in service under you. You are responsible for your own faith. Keep true to her, son.

I speak of trust, because the one follows the other. One cannot walk by faith, as we have been exhorted to do, without an element of trust. The writer of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews said it well, don’t you think? “Now faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the certainty of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1—ISV)

I speak of confidence, because unlike the world in which we live, there are some things worth believing in, living for, and dying for. Some have lost all hope, or indeed, never had any hope to begin with. But your confidence comes from your faith and trust. They, as we see from the Letter to the Hebrews, are based on assurances and certainties, not on pipe dreams. Others have gone before you; they have fought the fight and kept the faith. You will, too.

And finally, I speak of conscience, because properly tuned, it can save you from untold problems. In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul told his young protégé that the goal of his instruction was “love that flows from a pure heart, from a clear conscience, and from a sincere faith.”

He also noted that “some people have left these qualities behind.” (I Timothy 1:5-6—ISV) By ignoring their consciences, Paul went on to say that “some people have destroyed their faith like a wrecked ship.” (1 Timothy 1:19—ISV) A seared conscience leads many into unspeakable horrors. Just look at the face of our enemies.

Know this, son: You are responsible in your duties first to God, second to your country as a servant to your Commander-in-Chief and to those whom He has placed over and under you, and finally to your family and friends.

Son, never forget this: you are entering the United States Armed Services. Let’s look at these important words for a moment.

United States: The Grand Experiment — a democratic republic. As Lincoln faced the American Civil War, he asked “…whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” Remember that at times, the United States may appear to be anything but united in regards to the perils we face. But you already know the truth. You were raised in it. You know the enemy that has besieged us. You have studied well.

Armed: Only a fool thinks that an aggressor can be talked out of his hatred and killing. Appeasement never works. Ask an honest historian about Chamberlain and Hitler. Appeasement to the politics of “Lebensraum” didn’t work in Europe; it encouraged a devastating world war. Appeasement to the religion of Islam won’t work, either. When will the politicians ever learn that only by staying strong, and by demonstrating that strength through our fully-supported Armed Forces can we dispel the threats that face not just America, but the rest of the world? I pray that our leaders take heed before it’s too late. If they don’t, we will replace them at the next election.

Services: You are a servant. You answer to somebody. We all do. You answer to a Commander-in-Chief. You know Him. Soon you will answer to another Commander-in-Chief and a Commanding Officer whom you do not know. But they will have been placed over you by God Himself, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Serve them as you serve your higher Commander-in-Chief.

Some men never speak of these things, to their detriment I think. Some would deny them altogether, because ultimately, their God is themselves. But you were not raised that way. And I am confident that you will remain where you need to be—grounded in the “Faith of Our Fathers, living still. We will be true to Thee ‘til death.”

You are greatly loved. And you are in God’s hands. You have taken the best path. May God richly bless you and keep you, my beloved son. Your sisters send their love.

If we are able, we will make our way down to the Carolinas to complete my work there. That way, we will not be far should you need anything the Navy cannot supply. 

—Dad

 

Copyright © 2014 Charles R. Welty. All copyrighted or trademarked material is a copyright or trademark of the respective holder. All rights reserved worldwide. Last modified: 04/03/14.