Heroes Abroad and Home
It was the summer of 1988. My brother and some of my friends had
important choices to make because they had just graduated from high
school. Most of them decided to continue their education at a four
year college. One of my friends, Jason, decided to join the Air Force.
He left for basic training and was gone for what seemed like an
Initially Jason was stationed in
Guam and then he requested Ellsworth Air Force Base in the Black
Hills. His request was granted and he arrived in South Dakota. He
enrolled in some satellite classes in Rapid City and came home most
weekends. Everything seemed the same because we would still go
fishing, cruise around, watch movies and have fun.
Then it happened; Jason was given two weeks to say goodbye because he
was being sent to the war in the Persian Gulf. I can still remember
his going away party. It was a normal going away party with smoked
carp, mountain oysters, and deer salami. The only difference I noticed
was in the way Jason and his parents were acting. Normally, they were
full of laughs and jokes. They were still laughing and it looked like
they were having fun, but they were not. I could tell there was terror
and uncertainty in their thoughts.
To me, Jason and his family became heroes overnight. Jason put himself
in danger making a huge sacrifice so all of us would be safe. Jasonís
family had to endure the sacrifice with him. They were left on the
home front having to worry ever minute of the day not knowing if their
son was safe.
Jason went away to war and then part of him returned. His child-like
innocence never came back. He had seen and experienced things on the
frontline I would never understand. His family and I also changed. We
experienced life on the home front worrying and praying, watching the
news and cringing every time a United States soldier was killed.
Over the years I have had many friends, family members and students
become heroes defending my freedom with their lives. I would like to
thank all of the heroes and their families for making the sacrifice of
defending the freedom of every United States citizen. Your courage,
loyalty and commitment will never be forgotten. History captures your
sacrifice in words, pictures, and video. You will always be remembered
as defenders of freedom at parades, events and gatherings where the
U.S. flag is raised and, most important, you will be remembered as
heroes in every American heart.