I’m not much of a believer sometimes but there are some values that I strongly uphold such as sacrifice, compassion, risk, and determination. Most of these values I learned from my parents, especially my dad. I was born in Ho Chi Minh and my parents were poor teachers/principals but they did the best they could. We moved to the U.S where my parents insisted on being independent and working hard instead of relying on welfare. Even against incredible adversity, we managed and I saw how their determination built a foundation.
I never understood my dad’s sacrifice until after he died. He gave up his position, family (my mom’s family is in U.S), entire life to give my siblings and I a better life. Our relationship endured great difficulty as language and culture became an issue. I remember having to pull the plug on his life support machine and realizing that I would have no chance to repair our issues and to share my successes with him. I think about my dad and his values each day. His death completely changed my life. My mom hid her tears and held the weight of the world on her shoulders, sacrificing herself for us.
I became a driving force for my family and almost took over my dad’s role. After going through a period where I lost faith in doctors, I now have renewed interest. I realized that there are millions in the same situations, having loved ones afflicted by aids and cancer. This concreted my desire to be an Air Force surgeon and helped me see even in death of anything, that there is a second chance for hope.
Despite my fatigue, I do my best to secure a future at the prestigious Air Force Academy by preparing greatly academically, physically, spiritually. My mom and friends fear that I will be sent to Iraq or a battlefield if I become a military surgeon. However, I am ok with sacrificing myself. I will admit I am scared to think of it sometimes but there is an impervious value in dedicating my life to others. The opportunities I have had in coming to America and the gift that my dad has given me allows me to see that life is nothing without sacrifice. Sacrifice and compassion allows this world some optimism even when all is bleak. I have met with numerous kind people along the way in this country that makes me want to protect America as a compensation to the protection it has given my family and I. I want to give all of myself back to this world for my dad. After losing my dad, I wanted to give my life up. But I realized it would devalue my dad’s sacrifice. I truly understand my desire now, and I pursue it with a burning determination. I want to create a luminescent light in the darkest shades of life and corners of the world because somehow, I still have hope for humanity.
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