It doesn’t happen all of the time but it does happen a lot. Someone I don’t know will see me in uniform and come tell me “Thank you for your service.” Those 5 words ALWAYS make me 1) smile and say “no, thank you” and 2) feel extremely awkward. Until recently I had never felt like I earned those words. I have plenty of family who have. My grandfather missed out on the birth of his first child, my father, and the first six months of his life. He missed out on my aunt’s whole second year of life. I know of plenty of people who have given life or limb to their service. My second year in the Air Force, three men from my neighboring shop died in a helicopter crash.
That’s me in the middle. Six others died in the same crash.
I haven’t given the sacrifice of life or limb and I haven’t been in combat. I work in the business of supporting the aircraft. So yes, while I still very much appreciate those five words, they usually make me feel very awkward.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about my upcoming patriotic vacation. I am going to miss a lot of very important events this year and I have to delay a lot of other important personal goals and events. Every single day it seems like there is something else I’m going to miss. So while I haven’t sacrificed life or limb I have most definitely sacrificed TIME with my loved ones and the personal freedom to live how I wish (thanks Dad, I couldn’t figure out how to say it). Do not get me wrong. I willingly enlisted and am very grateful to everything the Air Force has given me (hello two year tour in Italy!). I am just not so stoked about missing the birth of my brother’s first child, the wedding of my dearest cousin (Congratulations Garrett and Mary!), my marathon and just so much more. The almost year long separation from my hubby who is currently on his own vacation is not appreciated either. That’s not the point though is it?
Yes I am aware that I am short 🙂
Anyway, we all joined for reasons much bigger than ourselves. There are a hundred different reasons people join but every single individual I’ve met had a reason in common. To serve their country.
I just want to take a moment to say Thank You to all of the men and women who sacrifice(d) in order to serve.
***There is a half-marathon taking place on base on 26 February that is benefiting the That Others May Live Foundation. That Others May Live is a non-profit organization providing post secondary educational scholarships to children whose USAF member parents or guardians were lost in a personnel recovery mission, training, or other personnel recovery collateral mission.
If you would like to make a donation please visit their site. If you live in the Tucson area, have access to the air base and would like to participate in the race, please head to Active.com and sign up for the Davis-Monthan Half Marathon.