On the occasion of his 100th birthday, United States Marine Corps and World War 2 veteran Carl Dekel reflected on his long life and the blessings he’s enjoyed in an interview with Tampa’s Fox 13. The Silver Star recipient recalled the Battle of Guadalcanal and his gratitude that the Lord brought him home and says that he would do it again if he had to — and if he were the right age.

In full uniform for the interview, Dekel said:

“Most important thing in my life was serving my country. I don’t think I could take away from that…It was an honor for me to serve my country and if I had to do it again and I was the same age. I would do it. I guarantee you.

“You just remember everything’s beautiful and live every day to the fullest. Just enjoy everything you possibly can. And here I sit at 100. They tell me I’m 100. I don’t believe it sometimes. Because I don’t need to worry about age. I’m not going to, I just keep on keeping on.”

As one of many in the “Greatest Generation” who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today, but one of the few still living, Dekel has a unique perspective on our country and what has happened to it over the years. He spoke about how beautiful life is and the world is then broke down crying, saying, “This is not the country we fought for.”

“People don’t realize what they have … Nowadays I am so upset because the things we did, and the things we fought for, and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket. We haven’t got the country we had when I was raised, not at all.”

He also made a powerful statement regarding the direction that the United States of America is headed:

“Nobody will have the opportunity I had … That’s not what our boys, that’s not what they died for … It’s just not the same. That isn’t what we fought for.”

Watching this man who sacrificed so much for our country, who watched his brothers-in-arms die for it, weep, believing it was in vain, is heartbreaking.

As America gets ready to celebrate 246 years of independence, a FOX News poll showed that just 39 percent of Americans are proud of the country today, compared to 69 percent of people proud of the country in June of 2011. An astounding 56 percent say they are not proud of the country today.

Former congressman Sean Duffy explained why people should be proud of the United States of America, including the fact that veterans such as Carl Dekel fought for our country, for the freedoms our country offers:

“When it comes down to it, we need to be proud of who we are. Don’t let anyone tell you or your kids that we should be ashamed of this country, because there’s so much to be proud of. Since 1776, the United States has only grown stronger and stronger and stronger. We’re the most innovative and creative country in the world.”

Although the polls may seem grim this year, we live in the greatest country on earth. Even those who bash the country remain in America. The freedoms that Dekel and his generation fought for are the reason why people are able to criticize America while simultaneously enjoying the country’s benefits.

“We’re the land of opportunity. People travel far and wide to come right here to America. We’re the most generous country in the world. We give and give to other countries who aren’t as fortunate because we want to help people.” Duffy continued. “What other country sends their young men to other parts of the world to fight, not for power, not for money, but solely for other people’s freedom? And we’re the most free country on this earth.”

There are millions of citizens who are proud to be an American. They will fight for her like our veterans, our heroes fought for her. America will always be the land of the free and the home of the brave. We must preserve the American Dream. Times may be difficult now, but when times were difficult for our heroes, they did not give up. They fought, fought for our freedom, fought for the American Dream, and fought for We The People, and won. As Ronald Reagan said:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

The American Dream is alive and well. We live in the land of opportunities. We can’t take the freedoms we have for granted, as these freedoms are not free. We must preserve the land that we love and cherish.

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