Six years back, I stood on the front porch, holding my dad’s sweaty palm. My cousin, 18-years-old, stomped wearing his Army green, camo jumpsuit, his backpack straps dangling from his shoulders. Through the blur, I saw his boots confidently hitting the pavement as he walked in the direction of imminent danger. One last time, I saw his shaved head turn to look at my family and I and wave goodbye. I knew it was going to be several years until I saw him next. Everyday he was going to the battlefield, to fight for our freedom, and for America.
Several years passed, and sometimes there was a Skype call. It was not much, but it was something. Over the next months, we prayed to God he was safe. He was stationed in dangerous countries; that frightened us. Five Christmases later, I walked down the living room stairs to see he was home. My brothers and I shoved past our Aunts and Uncles. We were ecstatic to see him. Everyday I think of how happy we were to see him.
Shortly after that Christmas, he resigned from the Army. At 24, he started college. Today, he is learning how to fly a plane for the air force. In a few years, he will be back out on the battlefield, but above the ground. He risked his life, and yet he still is willing to do it over again. I think about how he fought for our country. Everyday he made sacrifices, and he is one of the reasons America stays the land of the free.
I am grateful to know someone who put their life on the line for this amazing country—and I’m grateful to know someone who would go back and do it all again. Even though just about six years ago I was standing on the front porch holding my father’s hand, I still think about his patriotism for this country every single day.