This I Believe

Ashley - Godwin, North Carolina
Entered on July 24, 2007

American Soldier

People often use the phrase “soldier on” as an implication that one needs to simply buckle down, move forth and face certain obstacles in his/her life. Often, however, I am stuck off guard in conversation or by the lyrics of certain music artists with how loosely this phrase is used. One of my many personal examples was obtained from my years as an undergrad. I distinctly remember students referring to themselves as “soldiering on”, when multiple tests were scheduled in a one week period and social hours were interrupted. To hear the phrase used in such context clarifies how little so many Americans understand about the life of the American soldier. The role of a soldier is quite possibly the most selfless career one can pursue. America soldiers often do not have the luxury of sitting comfortably in a secure classroom learning material that they hope will one day potentially save lives or influence the world. The American soldiers classroom is the battlefield and the lessons are taught through hardship. A failed test is not only worrisome, but life threatening. American soldiers can fight in a physical war only once, and be scared and haunted by a mental war and a lifetime of anguish.

To say that my Grandfather was a soldier is not a completely accurate statement.

To say that my Grandfather is a soldier is a precise declaration.

To say that my Grandfather is safe from the battlefield in the land of the free and the home of the brave is a false truth.

While he is physically present on American soil, mentally he fights a war in a far off land, much different than ours everyday.

To say that my Brother joined the military by pure desire is not an accurate statement.

To say that my Brother proudly follows in the footsteps his Father and Grandfather is an honest word.

To say that my Brother will return to US soil the same man that left but days ago is not the truth.

He too was injured in a heroic act, just as his Grandfather so many years before, in a different battle but fighting for the same cause, our freedom.

To those fighting illness – “soldier on”, to those suffering a loss or feeling lost within – “soldier on”, to the families of American soldiers – “soldier on”, and above all to the American soldiers who currently serve or have served our country, regardless of where you sleep tonight, be it in foreign land or your own bed – “soldier on”.

And on a personal note to one special Soldier, who is very dear to my heart with a cross in his pocket and a heart full of faith – “soldier on”.

These are the individuals worthy of such an honorary phrase, in this I believe.