When you grow up in a military family, life is very different for you. You’re always the new kid in school, you move more than most people move in their entire lives, and are not always seen as welcome in some places. You are an outsider many times. I grew up in a military family where pretty much every single member, on my dad’s side, has been is a branch of the service since before this country began. Talk about a tradition to live up to!
There was always a pride in my family about our service men and women. We grew up knowing what true sacrifice was and what it meant for not only us but our country as well. We knew that when daddy wasn’t home he was out fighting for our freedom and keeping us safe. Of course there is a down side to all of that. He wasn’t always home for the important stuff. He was called away in the middle of birthday parties and more at times.
There were moments when it seemed that the Army got more of him than we ever did. There was even a time when I was resentful of the Army. They took away my father and I hated them for it. However, years later as I watch the Army Rangers carry my father’s casket I couldn’t have been more proud. These men have flown and drove in from all over the place to do that. They were in the middle of a training cycle and had to be back to their bases that night but they came anyway. The commander of the base we were stationed at ordered anyone not on duty that day to attend the funeral. At the toughest moment of my life these men and women were there for us. The same way we had been there for them throughout the years.
During holidays when some had no home to go to or simply couldn’t go home that year we opened ours up and had them over. I can’t remember a holidays where our home wasn’t packed. Graduations for us kids where full of guys screaming for us when our names were called. Need date for a high school dance? I never had to worry because there was always someone to take me so I didn’t feel left out.
Growing up military isn’t for the faint of heart. It provides you with a life unlike any other, a family that will stand beside you and fight for you at a moment’s notice. It means sacrifice but one that will forever shape who are and who you become. I am a better person today because of all of the men and women that have touched my life in some way.