LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Our nation is troubled

In my lifetime I have experienced two very divisive times as a nation. The first one was as a young man. Our country was in the middle of a war in Vietnam. As young men most were asked to answer the call to serve. Several of us volunteered into the Naval reserves while still in High School awaiting active duty after graduation. I was assigned to an amphibious naval ship destined to the war. At the time I never questioned why. It was pretty clear to me that the enemy was communist oppression from North Vietnam over the South. The South had reached out to our country for help over their oppression. I saw the purpose pretty simple. We were called to a foreign land to protect democracy from autocracy. That would also strengthen our shores and borders. Never could I have imagined that I would return home to a country in chaos, wounded and divided. How could we have lost the purpose of a war that had demanded so much sacrifice? As a young man l was deeply puzzled. Time heals a lot but the scars of war remain. The country moved past the era and so did l. Those of us who survived and returned moved on into our careers, and now into our retirements. With a little more time in my hands now, history continues to teach me through historical films and events. The history channels take me back to the days of the war, and leaves an image that answers a lot of the questions that had puzzled me all these years. When you see how the country was dealing with the war protests and the civil rights movement, while our military was concentrated in the war, the political pressure on our leadership was just as intense from within as from our foreign adversaries. A video of the last day of the war for us, as the president brought our involvement in the war to an end formed a strong image for me. The south Vietnamese people running toward the last helicopter at the embassy handing children and reaching up hoping to be rescued. How do we define the purpose? It has never changed for me but made me wonder how we could have become so divided back home. There were returning military personnel joining the protest movements. While at the war we had been a strong United force with a common purpose.
Those that held purpose did not lose the grip to those that reached out to us. Those that lost the purpose turned their back and walked away. Perhaps lost and feeling, played and used. Today we find ourselves a deeply divided nation again. So much that we dare bear arms against each other. Without a foreign war in the picture that divisive spirit is stronger than ever. It crosses family, neighbors, and friends throughout our nation. As it also did during the war. It touched our nation through some one close to us. Classmate (Ronald Forrester) cousin (Amado Valencia) amongst the fifty eight thousand that paid the ultimate price. The Lord tells us there is no greater act of love than a man lay down his life for his fellow man. Only when we embrace the purpose will we validate the act. Patriotism and Democracy has to have deep meaning. It is time to put down the ammo and arms. Lay down the divisive spirit of hate. Agree to disagree our political issues with respect and love for each other. We need to reach out across that strong divide. Form a strong grip and again be a United Nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all! May God heal our nation. May God bless our nation!