8 May 2013
Honor, Courage, Commitment
Present Arms! Ready, Aim, Fire! These words were followed by a loud “bang”! The sound filled my young ears with ringing and my heart with pride as they lowered my Hero to his final resting place. Little did I know this sound would reverberate through my life for years to come. As an adolescent, I listened to my war hero Grandfather, affectionately known as Pap-aw, tell story after story about his time in WWII. Regardless of whether it was the first time, or I had heard it before, I would always listen intently as if I would be going on the next mission with him. But as with any good story, there is always an ending. Unfortunately this one ended with a bad case of emphysema, but his legacy would live with me for the rest of my life and ultimately my Naval Career.
As I progressed in my years, religion seemed to become the upmost importance. I can recall one Sunday following Veterans Day; the Baptist church we were attending held a Service specifically for our Veterans. They requested that all veterans still in possession of their formal uniform wear it that evening. I watched as my Father donned his apparel like a knight preparing for battle. His eyes filled with emotion as tears of pride ran down his cheek, this was the first and last time I will ever seen my war hardened father cry. That night during the service they started to play a series of songs, songs seemingly mean less to the public but all at once men and women in uniform popped to attention like puppets on a string. The room drew silent as they paid dues to their fallen comrades. I wouldn’t soon forget that night.
If you had told me at my High School graduation I would be enlisting in the Navy a week later, I probably would have given you the number to the best psychiatric ward in the state. Seven days later, scholarship after scholarship fell through and I was left working three jobs and had no...