Weatherford News

Motivational speaker David Serpa challenges veterans to heal, be happy

Hunter Burt plays the bagpipes as a memorial wreath is presented.
Hunter Burt plays the bagpipes as a memorial wreath is presented. Weatherford Star-Telegram

“What you resist - persist.”

Motivational speaker and veteran David Serpa spoke those words at this year’s Veterans Day ceremony at Weatherford College.

On Thursday the Kramer Flag Plaza, located in front of the Academic Building, was filled with both students, faculty and friends for the patriotic ceremony.

Serpa, a veteran of the United States Marines, was serving with Clayton Beauchamp, one of Weatherford’s fallen heroes, the day Beauchamp was killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device in 2012.

“I think it’s important for the veteran community to understand it’s okay to heal,” Serpa said. “It’s okay to take a moment and understand what you’ve been through...some though things. But it’s okay to heal, be happy and to be successful.”

Serpa said Hollywood portrays veterans as a bunch of “alcoholics screaming at their wives, shooting guns in the air and killing themselves.”

“Unfortunately, when that’s the image that keeps getting put out there it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said. “We have to redefine the conversation we’re having. We have to move on and expect better for ourselves.”

Serpa said no one that died on the field of battle would want loved ones to spend the rest of their lives mourning.

“I’m not taking anything away from Clayton Beauchamp by saying I’m proud I came home,” Serpa said. “He had the courage to serve. The second I start taking 100 percent of the blame for his death I start taking 100 percent of the credit for the extraordinary amount of courage it took for him to sign up.”

Serpa referred to himself a “torchbearer;” who gets to tell the story of Clayton Beauchamp and what an incredible man he is.

“Be happy that such men lived,” Serpa said. “Be happy they walked among us.”

Lance Winter: 817-390-7274

Twitter: @LanceWinter