As a veteran of both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, I am constantly asked if we (The United States of America) are doing the “right thing over there.” I am here to assure you that, with out a doubt, we are doing what is right.

I joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school, with the full intention of protecting our country and the rights of the citizens living in this country. Now imagine for a moment, that everyday when you walk down the street, you are in constant fear of your life. Not from the soldiers or marines around you, but from people wearing masks, who come into your home at night and assault you for speaking to those soldiers and marines. Imagine that for exposing your face as a female you could be beaten, raped or killed. Imagine that wanting to live a free life could mean death right around the corner. People with similar fears founded our nation and we did not win our freedom alone. France provided us with help against England. Who are we to not offer the same help to others in search of their personal freedoms?

Myself, along with all others serving in our armed forces today, volunteered for the military. We signed our contracts knowing full well the risks of going to war and the consequences of those risks. We would do an injustice to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, who want nothing more than freedom, the same freedom that our forefathers wanted for us, by leaving Iraq and Afghanistan before the war is won. I have friends over there right now and I know what its like to not see them. I know how my family feels when their loved ones are in danger and I have hugged the grief stricken parents of fallen heroes.

One of my best friends died from a roadside bomb. I saw his parents and wiped away their tears because their son died for our freedom and the freedom of others. His parents were proud of what he had done. Their loss still hurt, but they understood why he did what he had volunteered to do and I will not believe he died in vein; nor any other fallen hero of this war.

I support President Bush and I support John McCain. I believe that they believe in our cause and that they have hope for the American people and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we doing the “right” thing? Yes, we are. We are giving others the same freedom that we have taken for granted here in America for the past 232 years.

What freedoms, you might ask? In my recent trip to a fireworks display in Vandalia, OH, for the Fourth of July celebration, I was asked to sit down during the playing of our National Anthem. As I looked around, I noticed that everyone around me was also sitting down. I remained standing till the end of the Anthem. At the end of the National Anthem, when my girlfriend and I sat down, the gentleman behind me said, “Its about time, now my kids can see the fireworks.” How’s that for freedom?

The same song that brings tears to my eyes, and to so many others who have sacrificed to protect this country, stands for the freedom that lets one sit or stand (it’s your choice) at its playing. People in America have the freedom to choose to remain seated and even complain that others wish to stand. Women here walk around wearing barely enough clothes to cover their bodies. Protestors camp outside the President’s personal home. People spend $6.00 at Starbuck’s for 12 oz. of coffee and complain about $4.00 a gallon for gas. We sleep peacefully at night, without the fear of someone breaking into our homes to kill us because we talked to someone they did not like. Yet, just seven years after September 11, 2001, we seem to have lost the drive to support our troops and ask why we are fighting this war.

We ask for change because the economy is down, gas prices are high, and unemployment seems to be through the roof. There is really nothing new, however, about any of this. Did you know that gas rose in price almost a full dollar during Bill Clinton’s two terms in office as President of the United States? This effectively doubled the price of gas per gallon in the US, yet no one blamed the increase on the Bill Clinton. Gas has only gone up another $2.00 since Clinton left office. Yet, instead of occurring during peacetime, the increase has occurred while President Bush is dealing with two wars, the Iranians are threatening nuclear war against Israel and the US Congress wont allow us to drill and recover our own oil.

If the economy is down, why are people still buying $6.00 cups of coffee, instead of brewing 12 cups at home for less than a dollar? Barrack Obama isn’t the answer. Maybe John McCain isn’t either, but I do know one thing for sure. John McCain isn’t going to tell me that my friends and I fought for nothing by withdrawing our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I do know that John McCain has more experience in Washington. I do know that John McCain wants gas prices to go down. He wants troops home with their families, he wants people to have jobs and he wants people to keep their homes. I also know that he does not sugar coat things and that he is honest, whether you like the truth or not. When you go to the polls this fall, remember who has given so much to guarantee the freedom and vote accordingly. And thank a veteran, because it was him or her that gave you the right to be an American!

Patrick JumpTroy, OhioCorporal, USMC & Veteran