Arlington National Cemetery the morning of “Flags In”

Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! This holiday is particularly important to me after spending four years serving on active duty in the United States Army. I said goodbye to the uniform nearly a year ago and yet so much of it remains in my memory as if it happened yesterday.

I miss the brotherhood. I miss the pride. I miss the language we spoke which only made sense to those who wear the uniform. I miss the smell of gun fire. I miss the ache in my abs and in my arms after a grueling workout of pushing an SUV through a parking lot.

I miss the long runs. Sort of. I miss running past Arlington National Cemetery and saying a prayer for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom. I miss the feeling of running past the Lincoln Memorial and seeing the giant sculpted Abe with his wise words scripted onto the walls. I miss the 10 mile run to the White House or working out on the lawn of our Nation’s Capital.

I miss the bad parts as much as I miss the good. I miss the routine. I miss proving myself to everyone.

I miss those with whom I served but who are no longer with us.

I miss my brothers and sisters who are fighting far away not knowing if someone somewhere cares about them.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share just a sample of my memories. It’s almost too difficult for my heart to go back to that place. Because with the joy I feel sadness. I’m joyful for the experience that no one can understand unless they’ve been there. I’m sad for leaving the Army even though it was the right thing to do at the right time. Regardless, I’m grateful for it all.

I’m so thankful to the husbands and wives who endured. My truest gratitude goes to Big Daddy who wrote me a love letter EVERY SINGLE DAY I was in training. Your commitment to me and my decision to serve our Country will never be forgotten.

Enjoy your Independence Day and remember they do it because they believe.

 

In my dress blues

 

Celebrating with my Platoon Sergeant and NCOIC

 

Being honored at the US Capital. Pictured with women of the Iraqi Military Police

 

Posing…

 

At the range…exhausted!

 

Me and my girl!

Arlington National Cemetery the morning of “Flags In”

 

“Flags In” placing the flag at each headstone

 

My Soldier and I

 

What do you think of when you think about the 4th of July?  I’d love to hear from you!

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