Veteran's Day Legacy

I'm an old veteran. Enlisted in the Navy -- drafted by the Marines. When a helicopter crashes killing 12 Marines and a sailor the "sailor" was a Medical Corpsmen in a combat marine uniform. You have to have been there to understand.

My name's John Bradley. You know me as a professor. I'm really just a poor farm kid: Sixth of seven children. I'm here because...

I was born to the right parents at the right time in the right country.

Anyone raised on a farm knows it takes a lot of hard work and long time to grow anything important. No one here built this college, city or nation. Everything here is gift from those who came before.

Vietnam was my war. The two times I made it into Danang the streets were lined with crippled beggars whom I assume were veterans of that 40 year-long war. They were used up worthless trash.

But I live in America. Thanks to those who came before I received a free college education. The GI Bill paid for my bachelor's degree, my master's degree, got me started on my doctorate degree and helped me buy a house.

I've always paid my debts but this time I owe too much. There is no way I can ever repay those who came before. All I can do is "pay it forward."

Sylvia Dominguez told me there are more than 300 veterans enrolled here at Estrella. We veterans understand the honor that comes from doing one's duty. It's my duty to do as much as I can for those who follow me. That's the only way I can repay those whom I owe.

We veterans are an honorable force. It is our duty to use what this college and country have given us to keep this nation great. We will be honored when our children look back and say...

"We were born to the right parents at the right time in the right country."
That will be our legacy.