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Veteran Vision Project

Veteran Vision Project: Peter Valenzuela, United States Navy

263: Peter Valenzuela

United States Navy

I joined the United States Navy in 2006. I was one year removed from high school and really had no direction in my life at the time. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to college and I didn’t have much desire to go. In fact I distinctly remember joining the Navy to avoid having to go to college. My grandfather was in the Navy and he often told me of his adventures in far off places, and his regret for leaving it behind. Aside from my attempted avoidance of college, lack of career options, and my grandfather’s advice, I wanted to experience the world while doing something meaningful. I was a freshman in high school when the World Trade Center was attacked, but it had a profound effect on me. I remember feeling helpless and angry, and those feelings lingered in me all throughout high school. When I became of age those culminating factors pushed me in to the best decision I ever made. To my surprise, the Navy was placing a very heavy importance on its sailors to go to school, and planted the seed in me to pursue my degree. Now I use the benefits and values the Navy provided for me to further my education and build a better future for my family. When I reflect on my life it becomes more about them and less about me, and that is what keeps me going.