There’s a Coast Guard saying I try to apply to my life. It’s usually applicable. It goes like this: you have to go out; you don’t have to come back. I believe this saying is so powerful partly because I know where it comes from.
Coast Guardsmen have to try and save lives. It’s simply part of why they go in the Coast Guard. Sometimes, when it’s windy and there are 50-foot seas, when they feel sick to their stomachs and would much rather be safe and warm on land, they get a distress call. They have to go out. They have to go and save whatever person is foolishly boating in such weather. They don’t have to come back, and sometimes they don’t.
You have to go out; you don’t have to come back.
Both of my grandfathers were in the military. My paternal grandfather was in the U.S. Navy and worked on planes on an aircraft carrier during the Korean War. He has stories to tell about exotic lands, about fantastic storms at sea, and about fear and death. Sometimes planes never made it back to the carrier.
My maternal grandfather was known as “Three-Engine Heffernan” for his habit of flying B-24s back from bombing missions with an engine missing. He was a hero to the United States during World War II.
I plan on joining the Air Force when I am done with my associate’s degree. I have wanted to serve my country for as long as I can remember, and so Veteran’s Day is a day near to my heart.
These are the men and women who fought for my right to write this letter. The First Amendment is the basis for this line of work. Without it, I could not publish this paper, because I could not tell my (excellent) staff to go out and get a story, complete with interesting quotes from both sides of an issue. Without the First Amendment and those who fought and died defending it and the rest of the Constitution, there would be a government official hovering over me the whole time we’re putting together this paper, telling me what to put in and leave out — censoring me.
I am an American. I was born here and have lived here all my life, on both coasts and in the mountains. I grew up with the basic ideals of liberty and justice, and that all people were created equal, but different.
It has recently come to my attention that Baha’is in Iran are legally prevented from going to school. For some time now, they have been working around the system, cheating the authorities to get a college education, but recently, the professors of the underground school were arrested.
As a college student and an American, my heart cannot help but go out to these brave people and their students. The Bill of Rights guarantees us freedom of religion, freedom from persecution, and although the reality of these rights has not always been perfect, I cannot imagine being without them.
Our soldiers are out there. They have been fighting for the United States of America, and all that for which it stands, for 236 years and then some. Some have lost their limbs, their spouses, their eyesight or hearing, even their lives. There is no doubt that war is a horrible evil, but it is sometimes a necessary one, and I want to thank every man, woman and child who has fought for this country.
America is beautiful, and she is worth fighting for. She is even worth dying for.
Love the warrior, hate the war.
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