29 July 2011

The one gift I truly have to give

As I was sitting outside YoYogurt in my ABU's, enjoying some Mango Tango and reading a running blog, a college girl came up to me and stuck out her hand. She thanked me for my service. I stood up and shook her hand, and she apologized for the strangeness of it, saying she just came from an Army funeral. I said "It's fine," not really knowing what else to say. She thanked me again, and I thanked her, and she turned and walked away. I noticed she was wearing black dress pants and a dark shirt.

I put down the blog and sat there for a minute. I noticed her got into her friend's waiting car. Well that was nice, I thought. She pulled over just to get out and thank me.  I wonder if those were tears forming in her eyes. I wonder if she noticed that I'm just a cadet.

But then I realized: she didn't thank me because I'm a cadet. She didn't thank me because I take 18.5 credit hours per semester. She didn't thank me because I chair honor boards. She didn't thank me because I woke up at 0345 to train the class of 2015.

She thanked me because this uniform means I'm willing to die for her.

"Without a word, this uniform also whispers of freezing troops, injured bodies, and Americans left forever on foreign fields. It documents every serviceman's courage, who by accepting this uniform, promises the one gift he truly has to give: his life. I wear my uniform for the heritage of sacrifice it represents and more. I wear my uniform with pride, for it represents the greatest nation of free people in the world." - Captain Karen Dorman Kimmel