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HECTOR HERNANDEZ, San Clemente

Growing up in Orange County, I was told being a patriot meant serving your country and protecting the well-being and rights of all citizens. My father, while fighting for freedom in WWII, was wounded and held prisoner.

I served in the Army from 1970-1971. My father’s sacrifice and my service to our country has been an honor. It saddens me when I see videos of our American Flag being used as a weapon against democracy during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Using the American Flag hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have sacrificed their lives for in such a manner shows the ignorance and disrespect they have for it.

Today, I see young men in large pickups with stickers threatening gun violence toward those who do not believe as they do. They display large American Flags to supposedly show their behavior as patriotic.

Here is my point: if all these assault rifle-toting, American Flag-waving individuals really want to know what it means to be a real patriot, sign up in one of the United States Armed Forces.

Anyone can own an assault rifle and threaten the weak and defenseless, but not everyone can sacrifice their time and put their lives on the line for a higher calling: “Liberty and Justice for All.”

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