gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 77

Al Hopson (Army Air Corps, WWII), David Perez (private first-class, Army, WWII), Rick Noble (E-5 sergeant, Army Rangers, Vietnam), Gary Doubledee (E-4 specialist, Army, Vietnam), Mike Baker (Army, Vietnam), and Dean Kaufman (E-4 specialist, Army, Gulf War). One of the veterans I know sent me a list of local veterans, one of whom is Bob Osborne. Osborne is a Korean War army combat veteran. He is 85 years old. I spoke with him on the phone and told him about my project and he was willing to do an interview. Suddenly I remembered an event from last year. It was Memorial Day, and I was eating at Roger’s Diner in Watsonville. In walked an old man with a T-shirt with an American flag on it, and the shirt read, “Try to burn this flag.” Then he turned around, and I saw his Korean War veteran hat. The Korean War is referred to as the “forgotten war,” and I thought he deserved some recognition. Because of this, his T-shirt and the fact that it was Memorial Day, I knew I had to shake his hand and thank him for his service, so I did. I also complimented him on his shirt. He told me, “I never get thanked by people your age, but it’s refreshing.” I don’t know why, but that memory popped in my head while I was on the phone with Bobby, so I asked him, “Hey Bobby, you don’t happen to have a T-shirt that says, ‘try to burn this flag’ do you?” He said, “Yes, I do. You don’t happen to be the boy who shook my hand and thanked me for my service at Roger’s Diner about a year ago, are you?” I said “Yep, that was me.” It makes me really happy that he remembered me, but also very sad. He should have so many people thanking him that he wouldn’t remember any of them. Every step we take in a free society, every movement, every breath was made possible by our veterans. Every freedom we have has been fought, bled and died for. The will to protect and preserve the ideas that shape us as Americans must continue to live on and show as a shining example for the whole world to see. We are a unique country that was formed off of a reaction of oppressive government rule, and we have successfully been consistent with those values by being the strongest enemy of tyranny and biggest preserver of freedom around the world. There is nothing that could sadden me more than to see our country become alienated from these unique and integral values. War must be avoided at all costs, but we should always be the first to sacrifice when it’s needed to en sure freedom. This Army Air Corps soldier Al Hopson,18, is why it is important during WWII to not just respect our veterans, but to show them that you respect them. A WWII veteran once told me “We aren’t called the greatest generation because of what we did. We were the greatest generation because of who we were. We could not have done what we did if it weren't for our values and patriotism. And always remember this Cyrus, we didn’t Al Hopson, 95, and Cyrus Kamkar fight for us, we fought for you.” I will always remember that. There is a quote that was found in a dead U.S. soldier’s diary on the battlefield from WWI that always gives me the chills: America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone. Mount Madonna School is an independent, nonprofit school serving students preschool through grade 12, and is located on Summit Road, 20 minutes from Gilroy. In March, United States service veterans gathered at MMS for a panel discussion attended by middle and high school students GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 77