I believe in the “Ugly Tree”

E. David - monroe, North Carolina
Entered on November 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My dream, for as long as I can remember, was to be in the military just like my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather, and probably his father before him. Even when my brother and I would play as children, it was never “cops and robbers”, we played “army men”. So, when I was handicapped as the result of cancer treatment, in 1999, I was more than disappointed. When I finally got out of the hospital and went back to school I was always kind of sad about not being able to be in the military when it was my turn. After a few months I became more and more depressed about it.

By the time I went to high school I was feeling really depressed about it, so I joined the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) in an attempt to get closer to some kind of military structure, while I was in JROTC I met the man who would soon become to be my mentor( MST. SGT. Baker). During the first few months there, I came to learn a small tradition I hold deer, it’s called the “Ugly Tree”. It was similar to a normal Christmas tree, but it was short, the pine needles where thin and spaced far apart, the branches where a bit uneven, and it was normally decorated with little items like dog tags or shoe laces, but as it came closer and closer to the holidays, the “Ugly Tree” would get covered in all kinds of shinny tokens and trinkets, and it would be nearly covered over by colorful gifts for all of our “Secret Santa’s.”

I always felt that meant that no matter how small or downtrodden you are, there is always someone somewhere that is willing to help build you back up. I guess I kind of personalized with that message.