by Chad S. Connolly
Today I read an e-mail article that affected me more than any article ever has. The article was written by a man who was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. This author spoke about true patriotism and many of the things that our country is lacking. He spoke about how we have become relaxed and lazy, especially when it comes to protecting our way of life.
I am a 1992 graduate of Payson High School. After graduating, I enlisted in the United States Army for four years. Since I was very young, I never questioned whether I would enlist in the military. My father (a Vietnam veteran), grandfather (Korean War veteran) and many more before them faithfully served their country,
Joining the military was something that I wanted to do, for me, my family and my country. I have never regretted it, and am so proud of the men and women who have protected our way of life.
I am embarrassed to say that most of my generation are cowards. When it comes to standing up for what is theirs, most of them would rather turn the other cheek. Where would they be today if their forefathers ran and hid in the corner, while those with "broader shoulders" did the dirty work. War is an ugly thing, but sometimes it is necessary. When the Sept. 11 attacks took place, it was a wake-up call to many Americans. I know it woke me up.
We have become so comfortable that we never thought that anything could happen right here at home. Since that day, I wonder what the unfortunate people of New York were thinking, or the several people who have contracted anthrax. On that fateful day, I watched many people reach deep inside and come up with true patriotism that was almost nonexistent the day before. It's a shame that it takes tragic events to unite us all.
If we continue to live the way that we have, what will happen to our country? Most of us were born into freedom and don't know any other way of life. Why not protect what we have now, instead of falling victims to countries that would rather fight and not win, than fight and win. These countries that I am referring to have no sense of freedom or pride. They have nothing to lose; we have everything to lose.
Freedom for Americans was, at one time, a dream. It took true vision and perseverance for that dream to finally become a reality. The future is up to us. If the majority of this nation decides to shy away from their patriotic duties, then we might as well declare ourselves as the "New U.S.A." (United States of Afghanistan). This is not what we want for our future generations.
This is still a wonderful country, but we all need to do our part. If the military was recruiting former veterans, I am sure that there would be a long line of them just waiting to sign up. You might even see disabled veterans (in wheelchairs, missing limbs, etc.) just waiting patiently to do their part. I know of several right now who wouldn't hesitate for a second. Thank God for them!
Thank you to every American who made it possible for me to know the meaning of freedom. Thank you to every American who traded their life for their homeland. Thank you to those Americans who are currently serving their country (at home or abroad). You should be very proud. Thank you to those Americans who have found a new sense of pride. To my generation I say, stand up for what you believe in, honor your country and never forget those who paid the ultimate price so that you could be here today.