America has fought tyranny, slavery and intolerance and, as a veteran, I tell you straight away, what I think America is and what it is not.

America is not perfect and it is a nightmare for some. It is folks disagreeing and some on the same page. It is a melting pot for some and feeling like an outsider for others. It is the greatest Nation on the face of this earth and I was willing to give my life for a cause in Vietnam that I did not understand. But I thought that if my leaders said we needed to stop Communism in a far-off country, then I needed to step up and sign on the bottom line and serve. Many thought that the Vietnam War was wrong and some of my own comrades that came back fought against it. As a veteran, I was proud that I served and would serve again if I thought the cause was righteous.

Seems like I would do much more investigating before I signed on that line again.

Our Nation is smokestacks, cars, vast spaces, apple pie, cows, skyscrapers, wheatfields, ghettos and mansions all within shouting distance of each other. We have vast open spaces and crowded cities. I love America and would not think that there is any place else in this world that I would consider living.

America is all these things that I talked about — but none of what they represent is what I think the real America is: I think that we are a dream and an idea that is developing as the years go by.

The wars that we have fought and the battles won and lost have exposed the enemies of freedom and our borders are a testament to the fact that with all our challenges the world wants to come here and be part of the greatest experiment ever, a Nation that offers a dream and hope of a better tomorrow.

America will fight, our men and women will shed blood and we will die on the battlefield for what we believe is a worthy cause. America and its political party system is going through a time that we need to find a way to work together as a team and see the larger view of freedom. The idea that was developed into the Nation we have today is forever changing because of the sheer size and number of citizens and the ever-changing demographics.

Our Nation has been built on the sweat and tears of immigrants. I enjoy the diversity and as a veteran look back at our military and know that without our Americans Indians, Japanese, Italians, Germans, Blacks, Hispanics and others who fought against our enemy, some wars and battles might have turned out a little different. As a veteran, I appreciate the fact that our Country with all its flaws seems to come together when the chips are down and we come together as a team for a common good. As a veteran, I see a bright future and a Congress and Administration that are working together. Not always on the same page as far as how to get things accomplished, but certainly on the same page of what our dream of freedom is and the common good that will prevail and move our Nation to the next level of success.

Level heads will win the day and again we will continue to be the envy of the world. We are good.

The American dream and idea are alive and well — just might need to be polished from time to time.

Talking with a veteran the other day at the VA in Boise about his service and this article, he mentioned that he was having trouble getting help for some toxic fumes he breathed in when he served. However, in the same breath he mentioned the great care he received at the Boise VA. He understood that Congress was the problem. He agreed that our Nation was the best, by far, after all his travels abroad.

The military men and women that serve have a unique look at the world through a lens that few civilians will ever experience. We are behind the scenes and also get a chance to see the way other military are treated and when we visit on leave, we have a chance to be tourists and enjoy the sights. My view on America is more in tune with, not only boots on the ground in our community and overseas but with the interaction of our Legislature, VA and tolerance, not necessarily in agreement with whatever Administration is in power.

America is hope.

“America is too great for small dreams.” — Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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