Patriotism, bravery, freedom, are all words to help describe the qualities of the United States. As Americans, we all have a sense of loyalty and respect toward our county. What happens when one comes to the realization that our country stands for one thing, but in all reality means something different? This is the trap that Ron Kovic was sucked into during his experience in the Vietnam War. Kovic started out like most Americans. He had great pride and love for his country – probably more so than most people. Unfortunately, like many Vietnam War veterans, Kovic came to the conclusion that America is not all that it’s cracked up to be. During and after the Vietnam War, Kovic’s view of the war and of his country changed dramatically. Kovic was not proud of what he had done in Vietnam and felt nothing but regret. Throughout the book, Born on the Fourth of July, Kovic describes the multiple events that caused him to become an antiwar activist. Kovic’s view of the Vietnam War changed dramatically due his feelings of guilt, remorse, and rejection. Every traumatic event that Kovic experienced put more hate in his heart for the Vietnam War and for Americans.
As a young child, Ron Kovic, dreamed of the day he could join the Marine Corps. He and his friend would study exquisite pamphlets with very sharp looking marines on the covers, and daydream of the day that they too would become Marines (56). During Kovic’s adolescent years, his dream was to become someone that people could look up to and respect, and he felt that serving the United States was a great way to accomplish his goal. There had always been a part of Kovic that took great pride in the United States, and he hoped that one day he would be able to serve his country. Kovic’s dream finally became reality. In September 1964, the paperwork was completed and Kovic was officially registered to become a Marine (75). Although Kovic was fulfilling his lifetime dream, he could have never prepared himself for how his decision to become a Marine would affect the way he viewed America and forever change the way he lived his life.