Growing up every child learns that America is a “melting pot”. People from all over the world come to our shores looking to achieve the American Dream. Once here, they blend melt into our society, becoming a part of this great experiment that started in 1776. Woodrow Wilson once said “there is here a great melting pot in which we must compound a precious metal. That metal is the metal of nationality.” If the United States is a melting pot, then it’s military is the melting pot of the melting pot. People from all walks of life join the military for various reasons, but ultimately when we put on the uniform we become one force with the goal of defending America. This defence of liberty makes all veterans patriots.
Recently one veteran had to prove just how much of a patriot he was. Lee Wong, a veteran of Asian descent and a member of the Board of Trustees for West Chester Township, OH, went viral because he showed his constituency just how much of a patriot he is. Wong said that he has been accused of not being patriotic enough or that he doesn’t look American enough. Frustrated, Wong said “I’m going to show you what patriotism, the questions about patriotism look like,” before removing his shirt during a board meeting. Wong revealed battle scars on his torso asking, “is this patriot enough?”
What many people don’t understand is that veterans aren’t one “type” of people. We’re the melting pot of the melting pot so the military and veteran community is often more diverse than the general population. People from all walks of life, of all nationalities and religions, join the military. White, black, brown, red, and yellow all take the same oath. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and atheist all raise their right hand. Gay, straight, and everything in between all sign their life way. No matter who you are, once you join, you’re joining a brotherhood and sisterhood that will be with you for the rest of your life. When the bullets start flying, nobody cares what your skin color is. When the roads are exploding, nobody cares which God you worship. When you’re fighting for your life, nobody cares who you sleep with at night. The only thing that matters is that you’ve got everyone’s back and they’ve got yours. Veterans only see one color, green, because anyone who wears the uniform is our brother and sister and we’ll all lay down our lives for one another. We all love our country, some lay down their lives for it, while so many others bring home wounds that last a lifetime for it. That makes us all patriots, no matter our background.
God Bless you Lee Wong, and know that you are patriotic enough. Thank you for your service to this great country, and thank you for continuing to work to preserve our way of life. For all other veterans, you’re patriotic enough too, but if you want to continue to fight for freedom and uphold the constitution, we’d welcome you to the cause.