Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit of Happiness

Michael - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on April 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

In these rights I believe in, not for just Americans but, for all people of all backgrounds and cultures. These rights were taught to me like all Americans while I was growing up. I read these in our history books just like everyone else. It was my mother though, that taught me that these rights mean something more. She would always recite me these rights at different times through out my youth, explaining to me the meaning of inalienable rights. I can still remember the way she would say it with such fervor and clenching her fist. She taught me that these ideals are worth fighting for. Not just to fight for out rights but to fight for the rights of others.

America has a history of using its military to protect those who can not protect themselves. I figured the military would be the best way for me to serve my nation and help people around the world. I joined the Army at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. I saw Iraq as a nation that was oppressed by a dictator and its people were suffering. I understood we were sent there because of what happened on 9/11, but I believed at the same time we would be helping the people of that nation. I found myself in Iraq shortly after basic training, in the town of Ramadi. At the time it was one of the most violent provinces second only to Baghdad. I remember sometimes wondering if this war was really worth it, if we as a county were really doing any good. Then on the drive to Kuwait to fly home, I would see people lining the dirt road waving and smiling as we drove by. It made me feel as if my sacrifices had not been in vain because they were starting to experience the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that we provided them, and they were grateful for it.

I did not realize the amount that the Army accomplished until I went to Iraq a second time. So much had changed in the time between my tours. Some of the places I could not even recognize. The mission may have changed from cache searches, to route clearances, but my goals remained the same, to do what I can to help the people live free. Shortly after that deployment my time in the Army had come to an end. I left knowing that I fought for the inalienable rights that I was born with. I fought so that people other than Americans can experiences those same rights that we are born with.