In a time in America’s history where everyone is quick to point out our deficiencies as we travel towards a future of change and uncertainty, it seems that many no longer put their faith in with the ideals and opportunities provided by our nation. As I contemplate the future of our nation I am comforted by the realization that during our country’s time of need, everyday citizens step up to serve their country. I believe that it is this patriotism and sense of duty to country that makes America a land of unique opportunity for some. My grandfather is one such man whose life has been an example for which I base my beliefs.
Growing up in Oklahoma in the middle of the dust bowl during the 1930’s life was tough. Times were hard and with world war looming on the horizon my grandfather chose to serve his country in the military. He enlisted into the Army Air Corps soon after graduating high school and was shipped off to the South Pacific to fly P-51 mustangs soon after completing training. While stationed overseas he met my grandmother who was serving as an army nurse during his deployment. Soon after returning to the United States they got married and for his service to his country, his education was paid for at the University of Oklahoma under the G.I. Bill that sent so many veterans to pursue college degrees. It was this action by the federal government that allowed him to obtain a degree in geology and eventually start his own oil exploration firm in Texas. The military would do more for him than simply pay for his time served.
Men like my grandfather fought for a country whose basic values and cultural beliefs allow people from all walks of life and all backgrounds the opportunity to do anything with their lives that they wish. The majority of people I believe take advantage of the unique opportunities established by our citizens as well as the government. My Grandfather is one such man who came from a modest background to capture an opportunity to serve.
I am sure there are a multitude of similar stories like this that arose from WWII and the country but I believe my Grandfather’s story perfectly illustrates why the United States is known as the land of opportunity. There is a strong chance that had he not enlisted (or subsequently been drafted) he would never have had the opportunity to attend college. Stories like my grandfather’s gives me faith to seek out all possible opportunities to better my life provided by our country. I am not just referring to the benefits of military service but opportunities that we take for granted everyday. We find these opportunities in the way our government supports a free market economy, the democratic process upon which our country is based on, and our freedom to voice our beliefs. The benefits are not seen directly nor are these institutions perfect but life would not be so rich with opportunity with out them.
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