Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Warrior's Voice: This is My America

Guest Blogger:  Corporal Chad Reep, United States Marines
                          Facebook Post, 7/18/2015                            
                          Clinton High School, Class of 2005

Today. Today I am saddened. Today, I hauled around a heart that was heavier than it may have ever been before. Today I woke up confused – confused of my surroundings – confused of the environment I have been living in – confused of the people I encountered. Today is the day I realized that we truly are in peril.
Courtesy of Corporal Chad Reep
When I woke up today, I expected it to be just like any other day – except that it wasn’t. The events that happened the day before stuck with me all through the night, and into the early morning. Four of my brothers died. While I never served with these men while I was in the Marines, they were my brothers. These were men that embarked on the very same journey that I found myself on only ten years ago - a journey that has still to this day been the definition of my life thus far. When I joined the Marines as a naive 19 year-old, I was nowhere close to being the man I already thought I was. That journey, along with the trials that came with it, not only taught me what it was to be a man, but it also taught me what it was to be an American – a proud one at that.

Courtesy of Corporal Chad Reep
That same journey taught me what it was to be honorable – to speak the truth even when it was not popular – to be loyal when being disloyal was so tempting – to have empathy – to give all that I could with no expectation of anything in return – to stand firm in my beliefs no matter how unpopular – and to be able to forgive others for just about anything.

That same journey taught me what it was to be courageous – to accept fear, but to act anyways – to make difficult decisions in a time of need – to be a leader.

That journey taught me what it meant to be committed – to give my whole self to something with all that I have – to see things through until the end no matter how miserable I was. Those who I served with will forever be my brothers and sisters. We share the same blood. We share the same heart.

Courtesy of Corporal Chad Reep
This is not the America I grew up in. This is not the America that allowed me, as a child, to wander as far as I wanted outside of the confines of my parent’s supervision in order to explore the world around me without fear– in order to learn independence – on my own. This is not that America. America, as I knew it back then, no longer exists. We were proud. We were exceptional.

Today, we are in a shameful America – an America full of victims, bottom feeders, and dare I say it, Anti-Americans. We are a reactive America – a sad America. We are an America where criminals get eulogized, and patriots demonized. We are an America where millions of people will change profile pictures to support the breakdown of society as we know it, but won't do the same when four of their protectors are killed by an enemy combatant. We are an America that has created an environment where it is no longer noble or honorable to fight for the very things that make us American. Rather, we are in an America filled with the very people who aim to take away the values and beliefs that have separated us from the rest of the world- the same values and beliefs that have attracted immigrants to this great nation generation after generation.

Courtesy of Corporal Chad Reep
Sadly, the America we now live in is one that educates its children to be anti-American. It’s an America that is now full of college campuses that not only bad mouths the nation that has given them the opportunity to learn any skill they choose and have the opinions they do, but do so with such ease and freedom.

These campuses are the very ones where our veterans find themselves alienated from the very people they have attempted to shield from the true evils of the world while cashing in on the well-earned education that they hoped for after their service was over. These same campuses are the ones full of students, who no longer believe that America is exceptional, but rather it is a plague on the world. To them, America is the problem. In the state we are in right now, can we even call our once-great nation America? Do we deserve to even call these borders that we live within America? In this America we don’t!

The America we live in now is not even America at all. America was not built by whites. America was not built by blacks. America was not built by the Irish, the Chinese, or the Mexicans. America was built by Americans! It was built by us! It was built by people who shared the same image of a free and secure nation, neither of which we see in today’s America.

In my heart, America STILL is exceptional! America still is the freest nation in the world! It is still the only nation where individuals are allowed to travel across borders unmolested. It is still a nation that has endured tragedy after tragedy, while always coming back stronger than ever.  No matter what race, gender, sexual preference that you are, this is still our America. This is MY America. It’s time we start acting accordingly.

Corporal Chad Reep, United States Marines
Corporal Reep will graduate in 2016 with a degree in Political Science
 from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.   

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