Young people join the military for various reasons. I loved my country, but I had ulterior motives for joining the Navy – a free education and the opportunity to travel. Many join the military to take advantage of such benefits. However, once in boot camp I was immediately introduced to the military mindset. I was immersed in a new lifestyle of honor, integrity, and courage. I emerged from an eight-week training cocoon not only proud to have the opportunity serve, but feeling blessed to have the privilege to serve with people of honor. It changed me – forever.
Throughout my first tour my love for this country deepened, and so did my love for my fellow service men and women. I wanted to give back to the country that took a chance on me. I proudly reenlisted several times and celebrated with others who chose to do the same. I served with people who have the highest level of integrity. They were also the kindest, bravest and most loving people I will ever know. There is a certain camaraderie that the military and first responders share. It’s a brotherhood that deepens every day as we inspire, encourage, honor, and love each other. Being a part of the military made me more than I ever could have been otherwise.
Although I chose to retire, I miss military life. I miss serving with incredible men and women who encouraged me to strive for excellence. I may not see them every day, but I will pray for them, and honor them by living the life they taught me.
We can honor our military and remember our dead by living a life of integrity and honor, and by praying for them everyday.