This is in response to the Jan. 25 letter, "Without borders we are nothing." As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I am aware of how tumultuous events such as war, famine or oppression can force people to seek refuge for their loved ones.

My own grandparents found safety here in America after being forced to flee from their beloved country. Some people come but hope to be able to return; sometimes time and events cause families to take root here in America.

In time most manage to integrate themselves with their children and become Americans -- taxpaying Americans -- given the opportunity. We can and do find some Americans, amongst us, who are boastful and arrogant having been blessed in being born Americans, sitting on their high horse and looking down on the new arrivals to America.

As true Americans we respect our past and where our families came from but our love is for our own country, America. Some cultural differences linger among us for a time as we all assimilate, i.e., food, music or dress. Some Americans may feel uneasy or resentful of these foreign customs and are viewed as unAmerican. But then what is the true origin of America if not all its people and their cultural heritage fused together here from all parts of the world into a new and vibrant America.

As a combat veteran I feel proud to step up for America and all the good that she stands for.

— Alfredo Estrada, Bakersfield