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The Return

“I will be back in 30 days,” my dad said to two-year-old me. “It will be like you won’t even know that I was gone.” His dog tags jingled as he walked down the stairs into the car. For the next 30 days, I lived my life as a normal two-year-old. Then on the 30th day, I leaned against the back of the couch looking out the window waiting for him to come home. That moment I saw him, I darted to the garage. He came inside and embraced my mom and me.
Most high schools know that we have three days off in May to commemorate the soldiers that fought for our freedom. But to me, Memorial Day is more. Memorial Day is a day to celebrate my dad who served in the U.S Air Force for 22 years.

The next time he was deployed was right after my brother was born. Dad came out of his room in his BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) with his tall black boots laced up. He said, “Make sure you help Mom take care of Zach. She is going to need it.” He again was gone for 30 days and on the 30th day, I was leaned against the back of the couch looking out the window, waiting for his car to pull into the driveway.

I am lucky. My dad never got called to serve on the battlefront, but he was eligible. When he retired on July 26, 2010, I was relieved because I knew my dad would be home.

I am grateful for the time he served. Because of him, I have a better life. He fought for my freedom.

To me, Memorial Day is a day to honor all veterans but more especially my dad who is my role model. Now, he has been out of the Air Force for six years but I can still remember leaning against the back of the couch looking out the window waiting...

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