Today we thank you for our nation and all the men and women who have served to protect us and our way of life. Thank you for our Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Protect them Lord.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
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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.