My Thoughts by Rick Stephens

Reflections of a Veteran

Posted in Attitudes by Rick on the June 17th, 2009

Hovas Stephens - KoreaAs we approach the 4th of July, our country’s Independence Day, I wanted to comment on a few things that have been on my mind lately. I am a veteran. I, along with millions of others who have proudly served this great country during its history, don’t wear that label on my sleeve or look for opportunities to stand up and be recognized.

Although we all appreciate the support and generous outpouring of gratitude that is springing up in this country, it should be said, that when I consider my own service, it pales in comparison to the thousands of others who have given more than I did. As the saying goes, “All gave some, but some gave all.”

I am a Vietnam era veteran. I was not drafted. I served because I love my country and I wanted to give something back for all it had given me. But when I wore my uniform, people jeered, threw things, cussed, and spit on me. No one asked me to stand up and be recognized or applauded me for my service. Nor did they console me when my buddies died.

My father served this country for almost 30 years. He fought in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. He was also awarded the Bronze Star. Not once do I ever recall anyone at a public event asking him to stand up and be recognized for his service. He died before this new found patriotic movement began.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am appreciative of those who are encouraging patriotism in this country. But patriotism should not be a cyclical emotion. I will be the first to admit, that we have made some mistakes and I am sure we will make others in the future. But regardless of all that, I loved my country back when it was not popular to be a veteran, and today, nothing for me has changed. I will continue to support this country through thick or thin, and I would stand up and defend her still today if needed.

So, when I am asked to be recognized at events, parties, and other social gatherings, I proudly stand, not because I feel I did anything special, but because there are so many others, like my dad, who gave so much more, and were never asked to stand.

I am proud to be a veteran but I am even more proud to be an American.

God Bless the USA.

To Your Success,

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