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Always My Hero

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“Don't worry, these next few years will just fly by. I promise you.” she spoke softly before she got on her plane to start the rest of her life without me. Her eyes filled with tears as she boarded the plane; trying hard to stay strong for me. The orange light from outside the airport caressed my sisters face; illuminating her tears. How could I handle my sister leaving? She had always been my best friend, my support, and my own personal therapist. Somehow I could manage, I tried to convince myself.

Growing up my sister had always been there for me. She had seen me grow up, and she was always there to help me along. I had seen her go through many experiences, both good and bad, and I learned from her mistakes. She tried to keep me from repeating her mistakes by constantly reminding me of her consequences. My sisters and I had all been close. We never fought. They had always been my best friends. I remember driving in her car with the music blasting and us awfully singing along. We would always have the typical girls night with movies and popcorn. If I had a bad day I knew that she would be there. She was everything I could have wanted in a sister.

The clearest memory I have is right before she left. “Mom, Dad, I have to talk to you,” she said shyly. A hundred thoughts flashed through my parents' minds. They braced themselves and a troubled look slid on their faces. “I signed up to join the Army,” she muttered with eyes planted firmly on her beat up tennis shoes, a shadow now covering her silhouette. Shock instantly flew upon their faces, followed by doubt and surprise, and lastly sadness. A violent shiver rippled throughout my entire body and my face turned crimson red. How could my sister just up and leave me like that? I felt betrayed by my own sister. She was leaving to continue on with her life and I was stuck here in Traverse City without her. I then became frustrated with her. How could she do this? I tried to control my feelings, because I wasn't even sure how I would react if I talked to her. I stood up and stormed out of the room. My sister ran after me and quickly wrapped me up in a hug. I knew that this was just as hard for her.

When we arrived at the airport we knew that there would be tears. She was rushing around, getting her carry on all situated. Our family surrounded her; anxiously awaiting the announcement that would make her board her plane. “I promise you, I'll write you when I can and if I can call I will.” Her face pleaded for my sympathy. She walked onto the plane, and it looked as if her heart broke into pieces. I knew this was hardest for my mom. She was shaking from crying so hard. This would be the first day that she would stay worried for the next four years.

My sister successfully completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. This was the worst couple months she had ever been through. One day we received a video from her base. Now knowing what it was we anxiously put in the DVD. All of the sudden my sister's face popped up on our plasma. It didn't look like my sister. This person was exhausted, the bags under her eyes huge. This person was a lot skinnier and her cheek bones much more defined. This person was wearing a combat uniform that made her tan face much more evident. This person was so much different. “Hey everyone. So, they're letting us make this video. I just wanted to tell you guys that I love you all. And this was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.” Her throat started to choke up. “I can't believe I actually did this. But, I think this is what was good for me.” She was crying and I was hurting for her. “Okay, well they're telling me I have to go. I love you guys.” The video then cut off. I looked over and saw tears streaming down my mom's face. I finally realized that this would be hard for all of us.

It has been four years since my sister joined the Army. She has been to Iraq, South Korea, and Italy. She continues to be my hero. Going through my teenage years without her has been hard. There are times that I wish I could pick up the phone and send my sister a text; complaining about what's wrong. Or call her when I've had a rough day. Even though life has been hard without her here, I know she did what she had to. What she wanted to. What was right for her.





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