Author: Ron Spangler
This is in response to a blog recently sent to me from a friend, Conservative Politics Today
Being a Vietnam Vet myself, I have always understood how John McCain's experience in Vietnam shaped not only the man but also the rest of his life. In the case of Sen McCain once he had been broken, like so many other POWs before and after him, he had the good fortune of receiving the understanding and support from fellow POWs. After our return home Vietnam Vets had a choice to make. Like every veteran that has seen how disgusting war really is we had to decide whether we would let the bad experiences we had been through destroy the rest of our lives or learn from the experience and try to create a better world for our families and our country.
Most combat veterans do not glorify war or their personal experience in war with the general public or strangers. Upon their return home vets talk to vets, and John McCain was no exception. Most of the time it takes years for vets to open up and speak about their experience, some never do. Over the years I have met and had the privilege to work alongside former POWs. I still remember the images of Vietnam POWs being paraded before cameras signing documents denouncing the war and confessing to all types of criminal acts. Only those POWs can understand how ashamed they are to admit they were broken and forced to say things they never thought they could ever say. They have nothing to be ashamed of, they should have nothing less than our respect and admiration for being able to endure and carry on a respectable life committed to making the world a better place and serving their country first.
John McCain's experience of being broken by his captors is nothing new. Every man or woman has their breaking point and in every war there have been POWs that have reached that breaking point. Our enemies have always used prisoners as propaganda to win a war by demoralizing Americans at home and our troops on the ground. It happened in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Unfortunately our history books no longer teach the younger generation the complete story of why we go to war or how our soldiers are treated by their enemies. By never telling the story of people like John McCain young soldiers entering harms way and people that have never experienced military service or the atrocities of war may find themselves believing they would never break in similar circumstances. Maybe the story of John McCain and fellow prisoners of war will give Americans a better understanding of America and what makes the American people so proud to be Americans.
Through his story average Americans are discovering John McCain is more like us than any Presidential candidate running for office. Every American will face one point in their life that will be their breaking point but more than likely Americans will use this experience to pick themselves up and carry on with a productive and better life. Like John McCain we are not a one size fits all society. We must put our country first and not be beholding to any single political party or person but be beholding to all Americans and America itself. I too have had my difference with Sen McCain, but I have found that he is not only brave enough to go against his party he is also brave enough to listen to the people, change his mind and commit to do the will of the people.
I have spent over two weeks on our southern borders talking with Border Patrol Agents, new graduates of the Border Patrol Academy and citizens living along the border states. The promised commitment to secure our borders is becoming a reality. After speaking with new graduates and seasoned older agents I cannot express enough how proud I am of them for their dedication, sacrifice, belief in serving their country and willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our country. Sen McCain has committed himself to support their efforts and secure our borders, I trust and believe he will see this commitment become a reality.