Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

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Surviving war

Q: "Precious," a critically acclaimed new movie starring Gabourey Sidibe, chronicles the journey of an abused 16-year-old girl struggling to overcome her parents' brutality. What can we learn from those who are able to survive terrible circumstances? What's the most inspiring survival story you've encountered?

Anyone who has ever served in our armed forces in wartime has survived terrible circumstances. On top of that, Vietnam veterans did not come back to a supportive societal atmosphere. Many were castigated for serving their country in this controversial war.

Many of those who survived went on to work hard in their chosen fields and enjoy success. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years. He has worked tirelessly since his return, becoming a successful member of the U.S. Senate and a recent contender for the U.S. presidency.

Another Vietnam veteran, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), also rose to the top of his career path, becoming his party's choice for the presidency when he ran as the Democratic candidate in 2004.

Other Vietnam veterans such as Gov. Tom Ridge (R-Pa.) and former senators Max Cleland (D-Ga.), Chuck Robb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) have never and will never stop making contributions to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Three million Americans served in Vietnam. Not all of us had enthusiasm for going to war, but when our country called, we did what we felt was our duty as citizens of the United States. Passing the buck to others to serve in our place was not an acceptable option. Many, such as multiple amputee Max Cleland, paid a high price.

I am inspired every day by the service members who paid such a high price in Vietnam and who are paying a price today in the U.S. armed forces, risking their lives to preserve our safety and freedom.

By Jan Scruggs  |  November 20, 2009; 2:05 PM ET  | Category:  survival as success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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