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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By K. Cathleen Turner

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USA Flag

My Heroes
(2004)

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As you reflect over your life... you find many people have affected who you are and helped to shape whom you will be. Each and every one of them has for good or bad changed the way you look at the world. Some of these people are your heroes. They are average people who did amazing things, selfless things that made an impression on the world around them.

Most people never personally know their heroes. Their heroes might be movie stars, politicians, great men or women who have done mighty things. They are the ones who seem to always stand in the spotlight of life. Yet not all heroes receive accolades and notoriety. Some heroes go unnoticed except for those who know them personally.

I am fortunate to have three such heroes in my life. Men of honor and courage whom I will always look up to and respect. They never had fanfare or banquets in their honor, yet they are heroes just the same. Filled with courage in the face of fear they chose to stand their ground for all that they believed in. Many obstacles stood in their way, yet they pressed on.

The first is my father, Dean Allen Dunn. He was a young man in a small Nebraska town growing up in the midst of World War II. At the age of sixteen his family was stunned at the news of the Pearl Harbor attack. His older brother was currently in Pearl Harbor and the entire family was awaiting word as to whether or not Junior Clark (JC) was dead or alive. Thankfully my Uncle JC lived. Yet for my father, that news was the cog that set the wheels in motion for him to follow his brother's example and go fight for the country he dearly loved. My father ran away, lied about his age and joined the United States Navy. He served in the Pacific Theatre aboard the USS Smith DD378, a destroyer class vessel.

In the midst of a battle my father was slammed through the deck by the recoil of a 16mm ship's gun. He spent weeks in the sickbay before being able to go back to duty. He never knew until after his tour of duty was over that his back had been broken and he was fortunate to even be walking. Yet even today if you ask him if it was all worth it and you would get a definite "Yes." He never regretted serving his country and he never takes his country or its freedoms for granted.

My other two heroes are my brothers Michael and Charles. Both Mike and Chuck served this country amidst one of our greatest turmoil's. Both served during what is called the Vietnam Conflict. Michael proudly served as an MP in the United States Army in Vietnam, while Chuck followed in dad's footsteps serving aboard ship in the United States Navy.

Neither of them ever regretted serving their country during this time of struggle. No amount of name calling, spitting or anger directed at them would change how they felt about wearing their uniform and serving their country. They felt it was their duty to go and they served with great pride. Despite the conjecture over the validity of this military operation, they chose to take a stand.

What these heroes of mine, average men, taught me was to believe in this country and be proud of it. To always have the courage to take a stand! To never take our freedoms for granted. To be a part of the process that shapes our country. That it is better to hold true to my belief's and act upon them than to sit back and grumble at the way things are. They taught me what it is to be a citizen of this great nation and not just an idol occupant.

I will always be grateful to them for teaching me these things. I also know that it is my responsibility to pass this respect and fervent love our country on to the next generation. May we never forget from where we came and those who fought to forge it!

May we be proud of our todays and may we look forward with hope for the future of this wonderful nation known as the United States of America.

K. Cathleen Turner
Copyright 2004

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