My favorite teacher, my AP Lang teacher (whom we refer as Santa Claus for obvious reasons), pulled out his "Free Chile's dinner" certificate from the government.
"What war did you serve?"A girl in my class asked.
"Vietnam." He answered...almost apologetically, his voice going softer and dropping two octaves.
The class went silent...and during the honorable moment of silence, I did, for the first time, what I was supposed to do during the moment of silence: I sat quiet and thought about everyone who had served in the army...who had served in the navy...who had served in any war.
No one I've never known has served in a way, so I never had comprehended the fact of a person leaving me behind...with uncertainity of coming back home again. But, when my teacher said those words, I realized that there would be people I knew at my very own school, people who I had become close with, who would, one day, fight for our country.
He's one of them. He told us that he wants to go to the Navel academy.
"I'm 6ft2, and if I grow another inch, I won't qualify to be a pilot," he had said. "But maybe that's alright...because I'm kind of scared...of going up there and flying."
I never thought of it that way. I don't know him that well...heck, I barely know him at all, but he's someone so real...someone who I go to school with. And it kills me knowing that he'll one day, if God-forbid a war breaks out, leave this country to fight for our rights. He'll do that for us. And it's just so amazing.
I think about everyone that has left and fought in the Iraq war, who's fighting in Afghanistan, who served in the Vietnam war. These people, men and women, left their homes, their families to go overseas into a drastically new environment, where they not only were exhausted...but lacked sleep, wondering if today would be their last day to live.
So thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you for serving our country. I'm proud of you guys...and I hope that through everything you went through, it was worth it. And it is worth it because I still have my freedoms...and I still have hope.
Sometimes, I think what it would be like to go to a Naval Academy. To maybe try fighting overseas. But I'm weak. I could never do it. I would be too scared, to intimidated. Maybe even too lazy.
So thank you. Wherever you are.