My Story

Vince Pettinelli

My father proudly served in the Army during World War II in the 76th Infantry Division. Later in life, he also volunteered for the local Veteran’s Affairs Office and served as Commander of the American Legion Post 446. Growing up in a solid Christian family, I learned my value system and began to understand what it meant to be an American Patriot. One way this happened for me which opened my eyes to our country began in the 6th grade. When I was a 6th grader, I started playing TAPS for military funerals. My dad would take me out of school and I would play TAPS at the cemetery at the conclusion of the grave site service. The experience of knowing that TAPS is the final salute to that individual was inspiring. Watching the firing squad, family and those in attendance stand at attention honoring the deceased as I played was incredibly powerful as well as adding a lot of pressure to not make a mistake! It really cemented in my mind the feelings for our nation. I’ve played TAPS hundreds of times since and still today, if available, will volunteer my time and go anywhere I need to play for a funeral, service or Veteran’s Day program. It pains me to see our Veteran’s not have a proper military funeral. This experience at such an early age began to shape who I am today. I developed a great respect and honor for our Veteran’s and our country.

I feel far too often many take our country for granted. Even though I did not serve in the Armed Services, I have great respect for those who did and the impact their contribution has had on our country. As a teenager, I was always involved in parades on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. They were always great displays of patriotism of those who love our country. My dad also served as a local councilman in our community which gave me a little insight on our government and how it works. Again, as a young kid, these images and experiences shaped my love for our country.

As I look at the state of our Country recently, it has become very clear to me that America is a nation in crisis. Everyone has an opinion and if you don’t agree with someone’s, problems arise. You are called out as being some sort of prejudiced person. Our racial divide has grown and protest groups have formed with the perception that they are here to solve the problem. Yet, there is a strong undercurrent of questionable methods to achieve the goals of these groups. When America saw the Civil Rights protests of the 1950’s begin, the leader, Dr. Martin Luther King always advocated for peaceful demonstrations or actions. One famous example happened in 1955 which made history for the Civil Rights movement. Rosa Parks, a seamstress who routinely took public transportation, was arrested for not giving up her seat on a public bus to a white person on her way home from work on a cold evening in December. Dr. King jumped to her defense and the next day at a church meeting organized a protest in a way that affected the situation causing positive change to occur and the Civil Rights Movement was changed forever. What he proposed was a boycott of the public transit system immediately. Well, the next day and thereafter, the bus companies began to struggle. Many of their riders were African-Americans and without them on the bus, their income dropped. One year later, the Federal Court ruled against busses segregated by color and allowed anyone to board a public bus at any time regardless of race or color. This effective protest by Dr. King proved to be successful. It was peaceful and saw results.

It seems to me there are some that feel successful protests are those where damage to public property occur, fires are started and unruly behavior is celebrated. But does that really reflect on the manner and style of Dr. King? I feel the key ingredient that Dr. King always kept as his focus was his Faith. His protests and marches were created with lawful behavior only considered. Do the protests we’ve seen in places like St. Louis, Baltimore and others sound like they are filled with a Faith and lawful centered focus? Random attacks on police seemingly to justify a revenge behavior?

But I ask, why has so much of our society turned away from God and his message of Love and Peace? Instead, choosing a path of moral depravity which is not going to solve any problem. It is only going to continue to create social unrest and never drive to find peaceful solutions to America’s problems. Perhaps our nation needs a healthy dose of the what our founders meant when the sovereignty of our country was formed Under God. If we constantly continue to live in the “what makes me feel good” society as opposed to what God wants from us, we are choosing the future of our country…