I AM TIRED OF HEARING IT
I am a combat veteran that graduated from the Army Infantry School named Tigerland at Ft. Polk, Louisiana and served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division. I am tired of hearing that I and my brothers in arms from all wars our Nation fought did so to defend someone’s freedom to disrespect our flag.
My generation’s war was not fought to protect our borders from invading armies. Rather, it was fought to stop the spread of an ideology called “Communism” that rejected most everything we held dear, including personal freedoms, private ownership and rule of law, not men. “Communism” and the “Cold War” were threats to our way of life that are today unknown, but in 1966 they were real and our Nation’s leaders felt it was better to fight it overseas than within our own borders. I agree our involvement in Vietnam was long and costly. Furthermore, I would not trade one of the people listed on “The Wall” for the entire wretched country, much less the more than fifty-thousand that died. But understand I and my fellows did not go there to capture real-estate. We went there for an ideal; a belief that we lived in the greatest nation on earth and that it was our time to defend it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Today, as then, the “Stars and Stripes” is the iconic symbol of our great nation and from its humble beginnings in 1776, only those that would destroy this nation, seek to dishonor its flag.
I did not slog rice paddies, sleep in the jungle, stay awake all night on a perimeter and see my friends die so that anyone who enjoys living in this great country would kneel like a slave before the greatest symbol of freedom ever known to the world. I fought so that flag would continue to wave over our country and institutions, and so people could stand tall in its presence with confidence that as long as it waves, it symbolizes the greatest nation on earth. I am convinced those that fought and died in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and every other war our nation fought did so for the same reasons.
A final thought: Military deserters and traitors forfeit their honor and are denied the privileges of their rank and the privilege of saluting an officer or our flag. This old soldier would much rather see our young people identify with those that fought and died for our flag, than to identify with those that betrayed their flag.