This I Believe

Emily - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on January 31, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I Believe

I believe that being a military “brat” has given me so much. All of my life, my father has been a soldier in the United States Army. He has given himself (and sometimes his family) to the United States of America and its people, and for this I truly admire him. Growing up, I never learned to put labels on people, and I was always taught to be considerate and put others before myself.

When I was a senior in high school, my dad was deployed to Iraq. We knew he was coming home four months later, but he missed my high school graduation. I was pretty upset because my dad was the one who always pushed me and helped me with my problematic math homework. Graduation would have meant so much more if he would have been there, and for a while I was upset. Then I realized something: I needed to stop being so selfish.

If I hadn’t been raised in a military family, it would have been really easy to always think of myself. I would have become so upset and so angry, and I would have felt sorry for myself. But, my parents raised us with the army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage, and leadership. With these values (especially duty, honor, and selfless service), I realized that my father was trying to make the world a better place.

Last January 7th, when my father was deployed to Iraq for the second time, my family stood at the front door of our house, hugging and crying, but there was a complete absence of anger or self-pity. Then, when his redeployment to come home was postponed from a year to a year and three months, we again came together as a family to find our strength. We all face hardships in our lives, and sometimes we just have to hope for the best to get through those difficult times.

I believe that being the daughter of an American soldier has made me a better person. It has taught to me to be less selfish (I won’t claim to be completely unselfish), and to not automatically think of myself first. I’m so proud of my dad, that I don’t have time to dwell on how sad it is that I haven’t seen him in over a year. Things could be worse, and this idea is what helps me get through the hard times. I thank my parents for raising me the way they did.