For some, patriotism is mixed and ever-changing. Yet for others, devotion to one's country is resolute. This week on Veterans’ Voices, Air Force veteran Michael Dufrene of Fairborn and his wife, LaCynda Dufrene, reflect on a lifetime of love and military service.
Michael Dufrene (MD): I joined the military in December of 1975, and spent thirty years on active duty.
LaCynda Dufrene (LD): We met and, you know, I wasn't real crazy about marrying a military man. And you said it wasn't going to be that much longer that you were going to stay in and one hundred years later you were still in. Can we say names of places you've been, or not really?
MD: Well, I've been to twenty-seven different countries and been in forty-eight of the fifty states, as a result of my military time. There were times I was in these countries that, you know, as the American you're either loved or hated, and not a whole lot in between.
LD: Because sometimes Americans aren't everything that...
MD: I know what you're saying.
LD: I mean, it's just... I always brag about how great… you know. But we spent our whole lives supposedly supporting our country, but… I'm that middle age in crisis trying to figure out. Did we help, in our life, did we help to make things better?
MD: It's not just did we. It's are we, or will we?
LD: I mean, what were we fighting for? What are we serving for? Were we serving for the ideals, or were we serving for individual people? Or? I'm trying to make sense of all that.
MD: The answer is yes. I firmly believe that we have many, many problems in this country. But I still think that we are the greatest country in the world. Yes, in the last five to ten years, there's been a wave of patriotism. It's unfortunate that it took something like 9/11 to bring that about, because I don't think the military and the mission that they have and the culture they've developed over the years, is any different now than it was then. As far as how we feel about our jobs and what we do for our country. What's changed is the American perspective of what we do. To this day, thirteen years later, after I retired from active duty, I know that I'd still put that uniform on and do it all over again.
LD: I love you.
MD: I love you, too.
Air Force veteran Michael Dufrene and his wife LaCynda Dufrene spoke at WYSO as part of StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative which visited the Miami Valley last summer. Veterans’ Voices on WYSO is presented by Wright-Patt Credit Union with additional support from CareSource. This story was edited by Will Davis and created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.