Kathryn Lopez

After the radio show that morning, another listener e-mailed me. I had referred to Kim's call as the welcome parade Vietnam veterans never received. In response, he said: "I'm one of those vets and your observation made me feel better about the sacrifice I made small though it was compared to that of others." He wrote: "Several years ago my daughter-in-law mentioned my year in Vietnam and thanked me for serving there. I surprised her when I told her that she was the first person to tell me that."

Warts and all, we are an exceptional nation of exceptional people -- most of us motivated by the founding principles that men fought and died for, principles that motivated our involvement in Vietnam and that we lost along the way there; principles that many of us worry the majority of our political class is forgetting again.

"Every morning I wake up and thank God that I'm here," said Mike, calling the same radio program during the same week. He was responding to a New York Times story about American expatriates renouncing their citizenship.

Mike, who was born in Croatia but raised a family here, would have none of it. A listener to conservative radio, he's become too used to hearing not from overtaxed executives living in Switzerland, but regular folks incensed at the major shift the Democratic Party seems to be forcing on the country.

"I cannot believe that one and a half years of Obama will bring the American people to its knees," Mike said. "You have to fight for your freedom."

There is something special about America. We have to work to keep it that way, forever treasuring the beacon that our nation is and needs to be, and never forgetting the dad from Hanoi, the proud soldiers or the lovers of freedom from all parts of the world.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.