Independence Day and Our Armed Forces
The United States of America; no other country is like it. As our Independence Day approaches one cannot help but have a sense of pride about all our country has achieved. America is not just a country; it’s an idea… a very powerful one. The enactment of that idea was not an easy achievement; it took the efforts of many great people and required the sacrifice of millions over the past 235 years.
None have sacrificed as much or have dedicated their lives as entirely as the troops in our armed forces. Our army defines America, defends America, and is what has allowed America to become a free independent nation. So I figured a member of our armed forces would be the perfect person to speak with concerning American pride and independence.
Andrew Joseph Smith is a veteran member of the United States military, specifically the 173rd Airborne Brigade. This brigade is a specialized division of the army trained in parachuting. This training allows for tactical advantages in war time as they are able to gain entrance to areas not accessible by land. According to Smith, “We were trained to hit anywhere in the world there was a problem within 24 hours.”
Smith was drafted and began his service to our country on March 11, 1963. His military career started off with basic training in the Fort Dix facility located in New Jersey. Once that ended Smith began advanced training in communications and then attended Jump School in Fort Benning, Georgia to receive his paratrooper instruction.
When asked about his feelings regarding being drafted into the army, Smith replied “I had a commitment to serve my country and I was proud to do it. I think everyone should spend time in the armed services; it was a great experience and I would not trade it for anything.”
Once complete with his military training, he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan which was his main base for the remainder of his service, which ended February 11, 1965.
Smith affirmed. “I loved being a paratrooper and jumping out of airplanes. I got to travel more than any other outfit in the armed forces. I was able to see almost the entire Far East. I enjoyed the training; it was all very exciting.”
I asked Smith why he was proud to be an American and his reply was, “America is the country I was born in. It is a great country… the greatest country in the history of the world and it’s us that made it that way.”
Veteran Andrew Smith will be spending Independence Day with his family like most Americans and as Smith asserts, “I am happy to have that opportunity because of our country.”
Smith’s story is only one example of the dedication and hard work required to make this nation what it is. His story truly does make me very proud to be an American. As I celebrate our independence this year, I will certainly remember his story and our troops currently overseas; I hope all of you will also. Without them this country and what it stands for would cease to exist. So please enjoy your holiday and be sure to remember the meaning behind it. May our nation persevere and endure and may God continue to bless America, both the country and the idea.