This I Believe

Claire - Leesburg, Virginia
Entered on November 2, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

This I Believe: that good things can come from bad situations

Claire Nawojchik

The year was 1969 and it was the peak of the Vietnam War. My father, Leon Nawojchik, had been drafted into the army at the age of twenty-two right out of college. In order to postpone his deployment to Vietnam for as long as possible, my father signed up for the Signal Corps studying cryptography, the longest and safest training, at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. However, despite these efforts, he was ultimately unable to avoid deployment to Vietnam.

My father ended up stationed at Army headquarters in South Vietnam helping with the coding equipment. After only a few months, he received word from the Red Cross that his father had suffered a heart attack. He was sent home immediately in order to be with his family and ill father. Because of the family difficulties arising from my grandfather’s illness, my father chose to apply for an emergency discharge. After months of review, his case was considered, and my father was then discharged from the army, much to his relief.

In later days it was revealed where my father would have been sent if not for that family emergency. Rather than working in relative safety as he had been, my father would have been stationed in the heat of the war; forced to endure the violence and brutality of true combat. His father’s heart attack ended up possibly saving his life. It is quite plausible that if my father had been forced to follow those orders, he would have died, thus altering the course of future events. My current family may not have existed if my grandfather had not had that heart attack.

I believe that good things can come from bad situations. When my father first told me this story, I recognized the luck of the situation. Though he eventually lost his father, my father retained his life. I believe that all people can find joy in a tragic situation, hope during a time of loss, and blessings in disguise as hardships. It just depends how hard you look to find them.