This I Believe

Michael - San Diego, California
Entered on May 16, 2007

I believe in saving lives, not taking them. My whole life I have been groomed, molded into the embodiment of what my father could never accomplish. For as long as I can remember, I have been conditioned to serve a life in the military. Taught that dying for my country was the greatest honor I could achieve in my lifetime. I have always believed that in order for me to protect the lives of my family and friends, I would have to take the lives of those who are at war with us.

My father’s dream has always been for me to fly overhead of some war torn nations and become the judge, advocate, and jury of some individual’s life with the press of a button. I have always known there would be a day when I would end someone else’s life, but I now wonder if I have it in me. I thought that these characteristics are the prerequisites for words like honor, courage, and strength. My father may have accomplished all these feats in his life, but he lacks honor and has neither courage nor strength. He has taken the lives of people from Vietnam to Bosnia and in Iraq and I now know it was only to make up for the things he lacks.

The past four years of college have seen me transition from the life I thought I knew, to one that has yet to be determined. I have found myself caring more and more about the people around me and their well-being. This transformation has led my to volunteer at places like Camp Easter Seals, an organization committed to offering weekend getaways to people with disabilities. It has also led me to value more and more what people think about me and whether they perceive me as someone who is there to help them or not.

Although I have truly dreamed of flying, I was told in a fighter jet how I was going to do it. I have been always willing to give my life in the line of duty if it meant that America would endure, but I realize now that my death will never be more than a statistic. If I am to have honor, courage and strength, then in the event of my death will be so that others may live. My father may hate me for the next step I am going to take, but if I am truly to be a man, then I believe I am better suited for a career where I save lives not take them as a United States Coast Guard rescue pilot.