August 30, 2009
To the Editor:
In the news, we hear of a war hero, a soldier whose life was given for freedom — ours or someone else’s. It made me think of other heroes here in our city and in cities across our great nation: our police and firefighters.
These men and women give their all, risking their lives to protect us each day. And add to the hero list our returning veterans and current enlistees who serve and protect fellow soldiers. There are many heroes in our land.
I was with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam and Cambodia. I am a proud Vietnam veteran. During the war, I sadly witnessed many other heroes our country never heard of; the guys, myself included, who went into the battlefield to pick up the dead or wounded with enemy fire all around.
As a unit, it was understood that we helped each other and stuck together. It was with respect that we carried the wounded to receive medical attention, or the dead so that their bodies could be returned to their families. Leaving them was not an option.
There are many heroes of war and heroes in peace. I define “hero’’ as a person who risks their precious life for that of another — a stranger.
I was one of the fortunate ones to return to this beautiful country, and for that I am very grateful even today. I risked my life for my country, and I am proud to have done so, because freedom is not free.
Jose C. Juarez