Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

A Sad Day For America and Democracy

Thoughts from a combat veteran

I was embarrassed to call myself an American today.

After the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11, I applied to West Point. In May 2006, I commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army — swearing an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Today we saw another act of terrorism. Terrorism committed not by foreigners — but by a cowardly mob of American citizens. I never thought I’d see the day when there would be such a brazen assault against democracy, American values, and all we stand for as a country.

Just over 70 years ago, my Korean grandmother and her siblings fled for their lives at the outbreak of the Korean War. After the war, my grandmother came to America with her two daughters for a better life. For them, America was the shining city on the hill — a beacon of hope.

America gave my grandmother and my mother a fresh start at life — and the hope for a better tomorrow. During my 8 years in the Army, I spent nearly two years of that time deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I wore my uniform — and the American flag on my right shoulder — with pride. During long nights on patrol, I often thought about my grandmother and mother, coming to America to find freedom and hope. I was proud to be an American, to serve in the military, and defend our way of life.

The America that brought my grandmother and mother to this country is not the America I saw today. It’s not the America I signed up to defend when I joined the military. And as a new dad, it’s not the America I want to raise my daughter in.

We can, and we must, do better.

I never thought I’d see the day when an American President would incite an insurrection against democracy. I expected an attack on democracy when I deployed overseas — I never thought I’d see it here in my backyard.

Today was a reminder of just how frail democracy is — and how easily it can crumble. We must hold President Trump and all who enable him accountable. Let this also be a turning point for Congress to truly unite, work together, and do the important work they have been elected — and entrusted — by the American people to do.

Our democracy, our freedom, and the American way of life depend on it.

Dad. Husband. Army vet. Enjoy running, cycling, cooking, & guitar. Sign up for my monthly humor newsletter:

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