As we celebrated the 4th of July this week, I couldn’t help but think about those who have sacrificed for our country. From our founding fathers who dreamed of independence to brave men and women who give of their time, and for some, their lives, to serve the greater good. Could that be the reason why readers love strong, capable characters like police officers, firemen and those in the military? As I think back to the young people I’ve known who have served in the military, my answer is a resounding yes.
My daughter, Megan, served briefly in the Air Force. I’ll never forget when she came into our bedroom late one Sunday night, a decidedly sheepish look on her face.
“Mom. Dad. I need to talk to you.”
Never what you want to hear from your nineteen year old daughter when she’s already acting rather nervous.
“I want to enlist in the military.”
Well, of course, I was shocked. I’d never even heard her talking about this as an option for her future. She was attending college at the time, although she wasn’t really enjoying the experience. I chalked it up to a phase. Like she was trying to figure out what to do with her life.
Well, she’d figured it out. In a big way.
After her father and I picked our jaws up from the bed, we started asking questions. Seemed Megan had been talking to a friend who was enlisting soon. She wanted to do something bigger than herself. Wanted an adventure, to travel and work with a team. As she grew more passionate about moving in this direction, I knew there was no way to talk her out of this decision.
So we recommended she talk to a recruiter. Figure out which branch fit her personality. She already knew the Navy was out since she got seasick. When she came home and announced she was going to try for the Air Force, I was still pretty nervous. What if she got deployed? Later, her recruiter told me it wasn’t a matter of if, but when. Mom did not like that answer.
Through a series of stops and starts, Megan finally left for boot camp. At the end the four long weeks, I flew out to Texas to see her graduate. This had to be the most humbling experience ever. All these young men and woman marching out onto this great big field in timed precision and order on a very cold December day. If you ever have the change to go to a military graduation, please, attend. It’s one of the things that makes you proud to be an American. The music played, the flags waved and my heart swelled with pride.
The weekend flew by with many different ceremonies, but what I remember the most is the look of satisfaction on my daughter’s face. She’d made a decision and stuck by it. She went off to school and then into her chosen field.
When you look at these young people willing to stand up for our country, it makes all the pettiness of politics pale. We live in a great county. We’ve raised men and women who care about more than themselves. They make the sacrifice to serve every day and we should honor them.
So in a way, we should celebrate July 4th every day.
Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her newest Heartwarming release, The Wedding March, available now. Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books