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The NSLB and Thanking Our Veterans

After working with my colleagues to found this publication, I’ve found it easy to get caught up in the scholarly and administrative elements of this Brief. That being said, it’s appropriate (and refreshing) to step back from the day-to-day work and remember some of the sources of inspiration that still drive one’s academic interests.

In this case, my grandfather J. Kramer Lerch (a veteran of the Pacific Theater of WWII) played a great role in shaping my interests. It wasn’t necessarily his intellectual curiosity or policy knowledge that drove me – it was something far more intuitive than that. At a 4th of July picnic, or at family gatherings when we would give thanks before a meal, “Pop-pop’s” Scots-Irish temperament would give way to a heartfelt comment or prayer for our troops. His respect for their sacrifice was tangible. Conversely, his receipt of medals for his own good conduct in WWII was something he never spoke of. I only learned of these honors after his passing – his humble omission of this fact only enhanced my respect for him. Even today, this is still an indelible reminder that our serving men and women – the most important instruments of our national security – are a living testament to self-sacrifice. Self-promotion, self-interest? These are anathema.

Before I allow this personal interest piece to meander any further, I’ll sum up the broad idea behind this post. While exploring the growing field of national security law is a source of personal enjoyment for me, I also take great comfort in knowing that this work may someday help contribute to a cause that is larger than any one of us – the protection and welfare of America, and its people. It is in that spirit that I urge colleagues, friends, and readers to look beyond their everyday concerns and honor those Americans who have sacrificed on our behalf.


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