Maybe its because my grandfather fought for this country generations ago. Or maybe its because I've committed my life to a man who has willingly sacrificed his own freedom for a freedom that is craved by so many. Or maybe it's simply because I'm an American.
Whatever the reason, the five years of this war have changed me. I have seen the faces of the men and women who pray at night, not for a million dollars or a shiny new car—but for one more day. They pray to God they will make it home to marry their high school sweetheart. They pray to God they will get to kiss the face of their firstborn child. These service members know that waking up is a blessing; going to sleep a luxury. I’m learning now, too, that each day is a gift.
They don’t fight for their own life, but for mine and yours, and for those who can only dream of what Democracy means. I have had to say goodbye to loved ones who never questioned their role in this war. They were given a mission, and while politics has tarnished the objective, they achieved the goals set before them. They fight because it’s a job and because they are proud to do it. If they don’t, who will? In five years I have learned that not all men are created equal. Some have honor and courage that cannot be measured—honor and courage that serves as the very foundation of this country.
Our soil is stained with the blood of men who died for the birth of ideas. Today, America’s children continue to breathe life into those ideas of freedom, prosperity, and security. They do it by bidding farewell to mothers and fathers, hugging children one last time, blowing kisses through the windows of a bus. Some will make it back for the homecoming parade and ice cold beers—others will not.
On the fifth anniversary of this war, I'm spending it reflecting on what it truly means to be an American, and remembering those soldiers, children and families whose lives have been eternally changed.