Apr 102003
Authors: Rod Rodriguez

When I was six years old, my sister met a man named David. They got married in 1990. He is from Texas and I love the way he speaks. He always has a funny comeback and is willing to lend a hand when you need one.

He’s a very devoted man, caring, loving, and a great friend. He loves a good burger and an occasional movie, but there are few things he likes doing more than washing his car. He also loves this country with every ounce of his being, which is why he enlisted in the Navy 17 years ago. He’s overseas right now fighting.

There’s also John, who married my stepsister just a couple of years later. He is from Florida, has a wonderful and loving family behind him, and willing to go above and beyond for anyone.

He has a great smile, a charismatic personality and can easily be a friend to everyone he meets. John is from Florida and has a son named Jonathan. His son usually spends the summer with his dad, Christmas time as well. This year is going to be different. He, too, is overseas fighting this war.

There is also my friend Curtis, a recent enlistee. I’ll never forget the slumber-party at his house when I was nine years old. We stayed up until 4 a.m., which was a major accomplishment for me at that time. I still had to be in bed by 9 p.m.

I would go over to his house all day during the summer months. We would walk to the park down the street or play in his backyard. He always beat me at any videogame I tried playing, so that was never my favorite thing to do. His mom would make us lunch and we could barely sit still long enough to eat it.

He, too, is overseas right now fighting in this war.

There is not a single person I mentioned here who I have not known for at least 10 years of my life. All of these people have been a part of my life. Both grandfathers of mine fought in wars overseas. Several of my cousins and uncles have served in the military.

I grew up around Vandenburg Air Force base in California. I used to sit outside and watch missile launches all the time, and hear old war stories from my grandpa. I know the military all too well.

I guess this is why it frustrates me to hear that, if we are against the war, we are against our troops. Despite popular belief, I know some of our military personnel who are fighting right now who disagree with this war, the vast majority support it. They are the military, though; that is their job.

I keep hearing: “They are fighting for our freedom so you should support them.” I do support them, wholeheartedly. I draw the line at allowing our own people and our own country to remove the freedoms we all have been granted as American citizens. This includes the right to free speech.

To dissent is only American. We do not live with a fascist dictator and in comparison to some countries in this world, we live relatively free. For that I am thankful. I speak out not to just raise awareness of those in our own country who have no voice, I speak out because I do love this country.

That may be hard for some to believe, but I do, which is why I am frustrated when I see the injustices that some of our people face. We are so focused on what is going on “over there” I wonder whether we have forgotten what is going on right here, at home.

There is no better time than now to turn to your neighbor, turn to your friend, or turn to a stranger and ask, “What can I do to help?”

Time is growing shorter each day and you never know where we may be tomorrow.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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