Pride In the Military

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A proud marine, saying goodbye to their family at the airport, who are left in tears.

Children left to wonder why their mom or dad had to be taken away. And a spouse left, on their own, worrying constantly. Thousands of families go through this daily. But on that particular day, I was that child. I was too young to understand why he had to go. All I knew was that my dad was leaving, and I did not know when he was coming back.

I could not sleep that night, my eyes stung. I turned over my pillow to find something beneath of it. A picture of my dad sleeping. On the back a note that read "l'm with you in your dreams as you are in mine. I love you, Dad" I cried harder'

A few months later, my dad sent me a teddy bear. lt had a red and white striped sweater and a brown hat. I still have it. Even though he has been retired for some time, it is still by my bed. I now understand why he had to go. That bear reminds me that he went to fight for my freedom. Thousands of men and woman are risking their lives for me, and you. We wouldn't have the freedoms or liberties if it was not for them. Simple things in life, which I couldn't imagine not doing, are protected by our military

Every time I see a man or woman in uniform at the airport, a mixture of feelings consume me. A mixture of sadness, and pride. I feel sad for the families that they leave behind. But I also feel proud. I cannot even begin to describe the immensity of courage it must take to leave their families, and travel across the world, not knowing if they will make it back All to fight for the freedoms for us Americans. I can never repay them for things they must face there, which will haunt them for the rest of their lives. But I hope to show them that I do care.

And I am eternally grateful for risking their lives for me.

All we can do is give them a smile as they pass by. Shake their hand, give them a hug,and thank them. We can proudly sport that yellow ribbon. And we can hang that flag high and think of them. Every time you stand and raise your hand to your heart, think. Think of all the men and woman who have lost their lives fighting for you. Think of all the families they left behind in order to defend you. Think of all the evils they have seen that they will have to remember for the rest of their lives. All for you.

I have never really asked my dad what he had experienced while he was there. lt is like an untouchable subject. I have only heard bits and pieces that have slipped past his sealed lips.

But I do know that it has shaped the man he is today. That day at the airport he left a boy, yet to see the darkness the world contains. But he returned a man. I could see a new found appreciation in his eyes. An appreciation for the family, the country and the freedoms he had been blessed with.

So is there pride in the military? Yes. Every time I look to my right and see that teddy bear, I am reminded of those who lost their lives for me. lt's red and white striped shirt reminds me of the American flag, that for me now has a new meaning. Not just the history and freedom of the United States. But of the wars and of those soldiers who have fought to defend it.





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