When Joe Lopez’s brother, Antonio Lopez, stepped off the train after having served nearly 4 years in the Pacific during WWII, Joe Lopez’s dream was to serve his country just like his brother. Antonio Lopez also served during the Korean War and Joe Lopez shared a horrific story of his brother who battled through thousands of Chinese in an attempt to secure various positions, but they were overrun. At the age of 17, Joe Lopez finally got his chance to join the military and he graduated from jump training in Germany. He continued to serve his country for 32 years before his retiring in 1986 as a Sergeant Major, and he would go on to work for the Veterans Affairs Department. Joe Lopez’s decision to move to Texas after the Vietnam War was a result of the anti-war protests because he felt like he wouldn’t be welcomed back to his home state. The lesson Joe Lopez learned was to educate yourself and be thankful for those who served this country.
Crawling Around On The Floor Due to PTSD
Joe Lopez recalled growing up with a brother who suffered greatly from the Korean War. He remembered that after his brother came back from the Korean War, he would crawl around on his hands and knees in the house and hide in the bushes outside due to PTSD. His brother, Antonio Lopez, spoke of being heavily armored and he made attempts to slow down the assault, but the Chinese just kept coming by the thousands and he couldn't get it out of his mind. Antonio Lopez died homeless and an alcoholic to hide the pain from the Korean War.
Love Your Country
When asked what lesson he learned from his experience, Joe Lopez replied emotionally to love your country. He has seen a lot and if you go to another country, you would discover how lucky you are to be living in America and people should be thankful to those who served in the US military. Joe Lopez said that It is your duty to learn about your country and become educated so that you know the decisions that were made on behalf of the US. Many soldiers who are injured or don't return, did it for their country.
Joining the Military: A Family Affair
Joe Lopez joined the Army as a 17 year old boy because he wanted to be like his brothers. On his birthday, his dad signed the papers that allowed Joe Lopez to join and go to jump school. Joe Lopez continued to reenlist every 3 to 4 years until he was in the military for 32 years and worked his way up to the top!