I served six years in the Army. I joined on the “buddy program” with my soon-to-be husband right after graduating from high school.
We went through basic training together at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in December! Hmmm, lots of memories: dropping and doing push ups, standing outside in freezing weather, in the middle of the night, doing arm circles because someone left a jacket hanging on a bedpost, going to the front of the chow line because I earned a “super jock” arm band, learning how to spit shine those Army boots and so much more! Definitely a lot of memories, but more than just “memories” is what I learned during that time in my life.
I’m not just talking about learning how to recognize different military aircraft, reading a compass or firing a M16…although I did earn a “sharpshooter” badge! No, all of those skills were important in order for me to be successful at the time, but I have forgotten many of those skills. But, when I reflect back on that part of my life, I realize how much more I was learning about pride, commitment, teamwork, camaraderie – and these are still a part of me.
I never had to serve in a war during my military career, but I had friends who deployed during Desert Storm. Moms and dads leaving their children behind to serve their country…to protect me and my children and the privileges we so often take for granted. More than any other time, it was that experience that made me truly appreciate what our service men and women do on a daily basis.
So I am proud to be a veteran of our great nation, and today, I salute all past, present and future military members and their families for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make to give me the freedoms I enjoy each and every day. I pray I always live my life in a manner that honors those sacrifices.