When I first joined the Air Force eight years ago, it came as a surprise to some people.
After all, I majored in drama in college and had already gotten my Masters, so I think the idea of me wearing boots and marching around carrying a gun was a different picture than most had of me.
People would ask, "Oh, do you come from a military family?" At first, I'd laugh and say, "No," cause I kindof liked the shock and awe effect of my decision. But after a while, I felt like I needed to give some props, so I'd add that my brother served in the Navy and my brother-in-law served in the Army and, oh yeah, my dad had been in the Navy for a wee little bit- but way before he met my mom- so basically those people had no impact on my choice.
Then, at Officer Training School in Montgomery, Alabama, my paternal grandma informed me that my grandpa had been in the Army Air Corps, stationed not too far from there, training pilots to go into WWII. And a few years ago when going through my maternal grandma's things, we found some WWII medals and rank that belonged to her cousin. Woah! Maybe I had more of a military family than I thought.
Now I'm married to a former Soldier whom I've converted to an Airman, and his dad is a Navy vet.
Now I've also been through several assignments, including a deployment, where the military people around me have become my family. Commanders, co-workers, even subordinates have become moms and dads and brothers and sisters when I needed them. And there's plenty of weird cousins and favorite uncles, too!
In this family, there is a trust that comes with a shared uniform and a shared commitment to protect and defend the constitution. There is an honor that comes with a salute, even if it's mandatory. There is also a deep sorrow that comes when one of our family pays the ultimate price. There is a responsibility to live in such a way to maintain this trust and honor, to represent well our family name.
Today I'm so thankful to my whole military family, serving in the US and abroad, serving in uniform and as civilians and Reservists and Guardsmen. I'm thankful to you for helping me become the person I am today. I'm humbled to be in your ranks.
I may not have known or acknowledged I came from a military family when I first raised my right hand, but today I'm proud to claim it. I'll even say it, I love you (what's a family without love, right?)!
Happy Veteran's Day!