“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” ~ Peter Marshall
I am the daughter of a soldier. I was born into a family of those who serve. My life from the very beginning was one of love for country. From the time I could sit up my heart was wrapped in the red, white and blue. On this day, November 11, 2016 I wanted to say thank you to my dad and acknowledge the great man that he is. My dad was born and raised into the military. His dad was a pilot in the Air Force and served in the Navy during WW2. My dad being the rebel he was decided it wasn’t enough to fly those birds, no; he had to jump out of them. And jump he did. At the age of 17 my dad enlisted in the Army and never fully looked back. He was a soldier, and his life as a GI was carved into his dog tags. He trained hard, sending all his money home to take care of his younger brothers and sister living as modestly as possible. By the time he met my mom in 1968, he had been to Vietnam and back again.
Growing up my dad was my hero. He was not only a green berret; he was part of the Special Forces, the 1st CAV and 82nd Airborne. My mom sacrificed a lot being married to a soldier, but in loving him, my dad showed my mom the world. He was gone a lot, and that was hard. I watched my mom pack us up time and time again; making our house a home every time we resettled. Home was pretty much wherever the Army sent us. I’m proud of my dad, his service and the way he raised me. I am the woman I am today in part because of his devotion to our country. My boys, they are who they are today because of the man my dad is. His example of sacrifice, loyalty, devotion and honor has shaped my children into men of honor themselves. His example is a constant reminder of valor and unconditional love for both his family and his country. My dad, well “he is the reason I have so much patience, so much courage and so much strength. He is my hero.”
I can tell you growing up an army brat, traveling the world and back again by the age of 7 molded me, shaped me and prepared me for responsibility. I leaned early on about self-sacrifice and commitment while watching my dad serve his beloved country. He came home every evening in his uniform tossing his cover right on my tiny little head. I looked up to him, wanted to be like him and slept tight knowing he had our six. His blood, his sweat and his tears paved the way for my personal freedom. Because of my dad, I have never taken my freedom nor my rights as an American for granted. I look at his accomplishments, and I know my dad is a true hero. No, he never wore a cape but he did wear dog tags. My dad was a bad dude and by that I mean he was just fierce as he is amazing. It takes a special kind of bravery to jump out of a plane and my dad; well he has always been that kind of brave.
When I think of my dad, Joshua 1:9 comes to mind, “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord will be with you wherever you go.”
My dad’s legacy has been built in his example. He gave up what most could not. You see “a soldier doesn’t fight because he hates what’s in front of him. He fights because he loves what he left behind.” So this Veteran’s Day I want to thank my dad for all he’s given up, sacrificed and forfeited for our freedom. It is because of our military and their self-sacrifice and willingness to do without we have the rights we do today. It is because of their commitment to defend our freedom of speech and our ability to vote we can even disagree with one another without fear of persecution. So today I urge all of us to reflect on the freedom we have. To take a moment and genuinely thank those serving you, in our military, both past and present this Veteran’s Day. For truly at the cost of their own freedom and the possible loss of their lives they put on their boots, take up our flag and defend you. So again I urge you to take the time and appreciate these gifts we’ve all been given, the rights we take for granted every day here in America. Remember your right to vote, to cast a ballet and even to raise an angry fist in opposition sits squarely on the backs of those who have and do serve in our military. Just ask a service member or their family how much they have given up for your rights, whether they agree with you or not. See what many of those in uniform understand is brilliantly quoted by George S. Patton, “If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself.” And so in times of turmoil discord or even harmony and peace our military serve without a second thought of their own personal peril.
Tonight as the sun sets and the moon rises, I am thankful to be the daughter of a soldier and for the perspective it has given me. True, Life Lesson #95 ~ being the daughter of an airborne soldier I was taught to keep calm and stand in the door. And yes, I believed whole-heartedly that on the 8th day God created the Paratrooper and yelled, “Airborne!” But in all seriousness, personally I’m humbled to call myself an American, the daughter of an airborne soldier and the great granddaughter of immigrants. Daddy, thank you for your service and for paving the way for the generations who follow me. What you’ve taught me and my children will be passed down you can be certain of that. We will not forget. And daddy I want you to know I’m proud of you, of being your daughter and the ability to truly call myself an Army brat. What I learned growing up the daughter of a soldier is nothing about Army life is ever easy. The truth however is it's truly eye opening. I’ve found in my dad’s example that while, “part of military life is about leaving, it’s also about finding your strengths, your courage and where you belong.” (@jomygosh.com) Because of my dad, his service and his sacrifice I really do know where I belong.
Happy Veteran’s day daddy, you’re my hero. And to ALL who protect and serve, thank you for your sacrifice.