I can’t believe the day is finally here, I think as I wait for him to come around the corner. For the first time in a year, I get to see him again. As soon as I see him, I teared up; and as he got out of the car, I started bawling. I ran to him and I swear to myself I will never let him go. I couldn't be more grateful to have him here.
The first time he told me he was leaving for the Air Force, I cried for a week because we were so close. I knew I would miss him and it would be hard to let him go, but he told me to be grateful for the times weve had, and to look forward to the times he comes back.
The first time he left, he was gone for nine months. I looked forward to seeing him at family gatherings, and when he wasn’t there that first year, I sat by myself thinking about how I wished he was. My aunt understood what I was going through, and reminded me to be grateful he is still alive and well over there.
The first time he came back was on my birthday and he surprised me by showing up at my party. It was the best birthday gift I could asked for. Later, he explained his deployment was the next day and he would likely be gone for a year. I was upset, but he told me not to worry and he’d be back before I knew it. In that moment, I was so grateful to have him with me I wasn’t focused on how long he’d be gone.
To me, patriotism is loving and being grateful for the loved ones in your life, and the time that you have with them. I learned to be grateful for every minute I had with Steven because I never knew when, or if, I would see him again.