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University Place City Councilman Shares Award-Winning Essay He Wrote After Vietnam

Javier Figueroa won the Department of the Army contest in 1973.

"I am proud to be an American fighting an old battle in a new generation."

wrote these words shortly after an airplane returned him to the Northwest after a tour in Vietnam. It was for an essay contest that was open to members of the Armed Forces. Countless soldiers entered.

A year later, he learned that he had won.

"I've never shared this before," he told Patch,"but I thought it was pretty important."

To the veteran and University Place City Councilman, he fought for something that generations of soldiers before him had fought for.

The war might be different. The locale changed. But the reason brave men and women fight for our country remains unchanged, according to Figueoroa.

Freedom.

(To read Figueroa's essay, click on the pdf documents in the media gallery)

Ken Campbell November 11, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Thoughtful and inspiring words from one who has been in the battle! I am benefiting from those who have sacrified..I will do my best not to let it to have been in vain!
Howard and Barbara Lee November 11, 2011 at 04:59 AM
Our individual values are formed from life experiences. Combat brings out the best and the worst in people since personal survival is paramount. Javier's heart felt essay on freedom was an expression of a young man grappling with what he had seen in Viet Nam and the homecoming he was going to experience after returning from an unpopular conflict. I don't believe you have to personally experience what our men and women endured in Viet Nam in order to be a patriot, but it is the result of these sacrifices which allow American's to enjoy their freedom. For this reason I can understand why Javier is passionate about the way the flag is flown or having a flag pole in front of the Civic Center. This isn't about politics but rather about moral fiber. I want to thank Javier for the sacrifices he made to guarantee our freedom.
Mike Venuto November 11, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Having served in the US Army in Vietnam I can appreciate the emotions you went through and commend you and our fellow veterans for your service to our country. Welcome home Javier.
Claire G Mick November 11, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Thank you, Javier, for sharing. Amazing words from a young man just returned from hell. People of your caliber make our Country and University Place a better world in which to live. Claire G Mick
Kent Keel November 11, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Thanks Javier! You, my father and uncles, and everyone who served in that war are heros in my book.
Christie Anderson November 12, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Happy Veteran's Day to you Javier, and to all others who served and died for Our wonderful country! You're service and sacrifices are much appreciated!
Patricia Mannie, Patricia & Co. November 14, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Thank you for sharing Javier! A very touching article and I admire your dedication and service in the US Military.

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