If you're a reader of my page, most likely you're leaving for BMT soon or considering it. For that, I say thank you. Thank you for recognizing that the freedoms we enjoy today and every other day depend on volunteers to serve and defend this country. Leaving your family, friends, and the comforts of home to attend BMT is only the beginning of the sacrifices you'll willingly make in the name of our beloved country. Your military career will be marked by many events just like this.
The photo above depicts me rendering honors to my little brother, a naval officer, over graduation weekend at BMT. As I type, he's spending the Fourth in a forward deployed location. He chose this deployment. He could've opted for shore duty, but he didn't. He chose to go as an individual, attached to another military unit. He is one of many service members who is serving overseas right now, away from our homeland and the celebrations of the day. He's been on my mind all day, and I hope his care package arrives soon, so he can enjoy just a little piece of home, in the form of Sour Patch Kids and M&Ms.
DH is gone too, at tech school at Sheppard AFB, down in Wichita Falls, Texas. I confirmed some suspicions earlier - that he and I have never spent Fourth of July together as a married couple [we're going on five years this August]. Leading up to our wedding, he was at basic training, then Korea, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg (while I relocated to Colorado), then at home while I was at BMT, and this year, in Texas.
As service members, we don't ask for the sympathy of others. This is not a pity party post. We've all chosen to make these sacrifices, in the name of service. We may not always enjoy it, but we wear those stripes and the name of our branch with honor. It's a temporary inconvenience for a lifetime of pride. It's a decision and a choice that I'd make again and again, without hesitation.
As you enjoy your holiday or prepare for your own departure, reflect and honor the sacrifices of our service members, yourself included, and know that our freedom is made up of these seeming small, individual decisions.
Happy Fourth of July from Aim High Erin!