This Saturday is Armed Forces Day, and this month is Military Appreciation Month. When I got this email, I knew this was the week to share it with all of you:
My 15 year old son belongs to the Civil Air Patrol, which is an offshoot of the Air Force. We had been talking recently about what it means for him to be in the military, the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly that goes with it. I just received this email from one of our deployed members that sums up what it means to be a warrior, and thought I would share it with you.
From one warrior-raising mom to another,
And here’s the email she got:
A few of you have expressed your thanks and feelings regarding my deployment. Of course, it’s been a resounding “don’t go!” But I would like you to take the time and ask: what would happen if I didn’t go?
The simple answer is that someone else would go in my place. This isn’t an acceptable alternative for me. How could I expect someone else to go in harm’s way in my place?
Another answer, one I believe more important, is this: who would protect my fellow brothers and sisters in arms while they do their jobs? Six years ago, I put up my right hand and swore an oath to defend my country. And that country includes every airman, sailor, soldier and Marine. The job that Oscar [his bomb-sniffing dog] and I have is just that: protecting my brothers and sisters so they might return safely.
When I returned from my last deployment a year ago, I had the honor of flying with an Angel Flight. For those of you who don’t know, an Angel Flight is the designation for an aircraft carrying our fallen service members. It was unfortunate for them to return in such a state. And I knew, in the back of my mind, that if more people like me (and Oscar) were there, that just maybe, these service members would not have to return like this.
The oath that I took is different from the oath you take as a CAP cadet, in that many others stake their lives in the trust that I will keep my promise. Sticking to that promise is important to me. But sticking to your promise is just as important. It shows how you, as an individual, value your own promise to yourself, your community, state and nation.
I know what my oath means: that I am prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if need be to protect my fellow service members and Americans. I’d like you to take the time to reflect on YOUR promise. What does your promise mean to YOU? Can YOU count on your own promise? Can OTHERS count on it?
Thank you everyone for the gifts, support, and thanks you have given me. Once I arrive in Iraq and get my mailing address, I’ll forward it on. Remember, the best gift is “Chocolate Monkey” or “Swiss” trail mix from Archer Farms, available at Target.
Take care, and stay safe. I’ll see you at the end of my deployment. I expect to see all of you promoted to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant by my return. Martinez, give me five push-ups.