I'm a Vietnam War Veteran. I had to fight for my country because of the draft; but, I chose to sign up so that I could choose the branch of service and get a commission. I started with the navy. Then when time came for me to begin the advanced training for officer candidacy, I was turned down because of a small physical problem. So, I approached the Army ROTC program at college. They took me in immediately. Then after graduation, I entered the army as a second lieutenant. Before I went to Vietnam, I made sure I had the best training to prepare me for my duty as an American citizen in uniform attending the Infantry School at Ft. Benning then the Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg.
During my lifetime, I witnessed the remarkable things accomplished by such presidents as Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. They each presented good examples of the World War II generation. But then I watched as we elected a draft dodger followed by a man who used his father's influence to evade service in Vietnam. And these were the representatives of the Vietnam Era generation?
In 2008, I lost hope with the election of Obama, a person born in, but not raised in, the USA (if you doubt me, read his biography!). Although he made his mark on American history, he is representative of a younger generation than me. I thought I had lost all hope of my generation ever producing someone worth admiring as president.
BUT THEN: A man of my generation (I’m a year older than Trump) was elected. I have seen in him a leader (although he did not serve in the military). He has been supportive of the military and has been willing to express his immense pride in the land that offered him the opportunity to become president. I think that he’s even humbled by his election. I know many people don't like him being president. And that's understandable. I didn't like Mr. Obama. But, I never attempted to diminish President Obama's presidency by continuously criticizing and even demeaning him in public. He was the president. I respected the office enough to give him the respect he deserved.
But, I have recognized traits about Trump that avid Democrats refuse to admit. He’s willing to stand up for what he believes. And he gladly takes the shots from people who no longer believe in the greatness of America. He’s willing to say what he believes despite the ridicule he receives from the media who seem to have lost any vestige of respect for the office of the presidency or the country that allowed them the freedom to speak their opinions. And he doesn’t care what other people think about him, his beliefs, or his political position. I believe, he shows true courage in the best sense of the word.
I’m a simple man (and yes, I admit that I am a man and have known that fact all my life and am proud of who and what I am). I neither demand nor even ask for anything. I am content with my life. I’m proud of my accomplishments. I am proud to be both a Christian and a Republican (I don’t believe either of those labels diminishes me in any way).
The only thing I ask is that people living in this country (whether you’re an immigrant, or born here, or are an elected politician) obey the laws of our country. I also ask that you respect the government that allows you to be here (Whether an immigrant or not). And I think you should act like a proud citizen of a nation where people can strive for greatness ... or not. In the USA there are no guarantees of being successful or becoming great. Our constitution promises all citizens the right to "PURSUE" happiness, not to BE happy.
And finally, I want to say that I am proud to be an American. I consider it an honor to have served in the military of this wonderful country. I’m glad that I made a small contribution to the next generation by teaching in college for more than thirty years. I’m glad that my family is healthy and have what they need. I’m proud that my heritage is Western European (besides, I couldn’t do anything about it if I wanted). And I’m proud that my family and friends still love me and are willing to put up with me. What more do I need?
So, in conclusion, I thank you for reading this, if you made it this far. And even if you’re offended, I still respect you for your opinion, even if it doesn't matter to me. And I love to say: God bless you; and God bless America!
Herb is an author, speaker, retired college professor, and retired Army Reserve chaplain living in South Florida.
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