I have learned the true meaning of bravery and courage from my younger brother, who is a Marine reserve soldier anxiously awaiting deployment to Iraq.
My brother and I are of East Indian descent. We grew up in the typical Indian household. In our culture, it is the elder members of the community who impart knowledge on the younger generation based on their life experiences. As the older sister, I did my duty of serving as a role model to my younger brother. When we were in school, I helped him with his homework. When he needed guidance, I gave him advice. Who would have thought that my younger brother would one day be teaching me an extremely important life lesson? Not I.
In 2004, at the age of 18, my brother joined the Marine reserves to pay his own way through college. Though the Iraq war had been underway for over a year, the threat of war still seemed far away. My brother did a tour in Djibouti for seven months, and even then, war seemed unreal.
My life completely changed the day I found out that my brother and his company was going to be deployed to Iraq. War was now suddenly close to home. It became a major factor in my life. Each day became unbearable, especially with the numerous news stories about Iraq I read in the newspapers or heard on the radio. However, through all the daunting news stories, through all the poignant questions from us civilians, through all his intense training sessions, and through his recent break up with his girlfriend, my brother is determined to go to Iraq and get his job done. His answer, every time he is asked if he is scared, is a confident and resounding, “No. I am going to Iraq to help my fellow Marines.” My brother’s confidence gave me courage.
At the age of 21, if my brother, facing such odds, can hold his head up and accept what he needs to do, then I too, at age 25, can hold my head up and accept what needs to be done. I know I will be able to bravely face this coming year until he comes home from Iraq. I know my brother will complete his tour successfully and come home safely from Iraq. Why? Because I believe in my brother, a proud Marine soldier for the United States of America.