Unite the USA
8/24/15 at 10:55 AM 0 Comments

American Heroes, John Wayne, and You

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By Stacie and Carrie Stoelting

"Sure, I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure, I love my country with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be." -John Wayne

God sometimes uses small towns as settings for big stories. In Iowa, this has happened time and again: In 1940, Iowa's own Glenn McDole enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and bravely served in WWII. On August 12, 1942, he entered the Palawan prison camp in the Philippines. Two long years later on December 14, 1944, Japanese soldiers slaughtered about 93% of American POWs. The Japanese lied. They announced false air raids to move prisoners into underground shelters. Then, they mercilessly poured gasoline on top of them and used dynamite and machine guns to murder the POWs. Our brave soldiers were slain by evil, blood-thirsty hands. They died a hellish death for our freedom. Yet McDole escaped.

Amazingly, Glenn McDole was one of eleven young men who escaped. He was the last man out of the Palawan Prison Camp 10A. McDole and the ten other survivors dug into refuse piles, hid in coral caves, and slogged through jungle and swamps to safety. The horrifying conditions suffered by McDole and his comrades were endured for America's freedom - our freedom.

Honor the memory of those who have given their lives to keep us free. Thank our veterans and current servicemen and women for their hard work and tireless efforts to protect freedom. Our heroes know that freedom is worth it. They've seen tyranny and the consequential pain and disparity and that further emboldens them to fight for freedom.

Our veterans did not fight (and die) in vain. It is up to us to do our part to honor our heroes, treat them with respect, and give them the very best. We must protect our freedom on the home front. As President Ronald Reagan wisely said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

We all must do something.

With that in mind, we founded an outreach called Unite the USA to encourage positive patriotism and veteran appreciation. As sisters and life-long Iowans, we believe that we all can do something to make a difference. Over time, we have traveled the country to promote how all Americans can honor veterans. We've had the opportunity to meet countless veterans and reach out to them with gratitude. For example we had the honor of meeting Glenn McDole and we'll never forget it. (Learn more about Glenn McDole's heroic story in his book Last Man Out.)

As spokeswomen for veterans, we regularly share on national media. In addition, together we have recorded two uplifting albums called Heavenly and In God We Still Trust. Most recently, we published a book titled Unite the USA: Discover the ABCs of Patriotism. With God's help, all of this has happened based in rural Iowa. We're thankful and proud of that fact that we are from Iowa... John Wayne was, too. In fact, we recently made a return visit to the town of his birth in Winterset, Iowa. We toured his house (which is also where he was born) and enjoyed the brand new museum. We gained a deeper insight into the Duke and why America still loves him.

John Wayne was more than just a movie star. He symbolized what is means to be American. He would bring courage, independence, and love for God and country wherever he'd go. While an old football injury prevented him from serving in the military, John Wayne turned to other ways to serve the USA. He supported our troops from WWII to Vietnam. For example, he proudly wore Capt. Stephen P Hanson's "POW" bracelet after the Marine was shot down in Laos, Vietnam. Tragically, Capt. Hanson never came home but John Wayne remained in touch with his wife and young son. He made a difference.
We all should learn from John Wayne and be active, patriotic Americans. We challenge you to just do something. Make it a goal. Big or small, just do something for the good of our country. Freedom depends on it.

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