Student column: Learning what it means to serveThe military is a very important part of the United States of America. Whether you know it or not, the military affects every single one of us every day of our lives. It is what keeps us safe.
By: Becca Opp, The Farmington Independent
The military is a very important part of the United States of America. Whether you know it or not, the military affects every single one of us every day of our lives. It is what keeps us safe. It is what allows us to go out and have fun on the weekends. It is what protects the United States of America.
I was recently a part of a competition directed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and it really opened my eyes to how special the military is. Just listening to and watching the veterans talk about their country was inspiring. They all had so many unique stories to tell and I tried to remember all of them as best as I could.
Some told stories of war and hardship, while others told stories of success. But one thing that they all had in common was that they said the hardest thing they had to do was leave their families. They were all very proud and dedicated to the military, but they all said their heart had ached at some point for their loved ones.
I didn’t fully understand this until one rainy day on a weekend. On one dreary day a little while back, I was sitting at home on my computer and thought to look up surprise homecomings from the military. I had heard about the show “Surprise Homecoming” on TLC and wanted to see what it was about.
I ended up sitting at my computer for hours watching video after video of family reunions. After the first video, I established that you could not get through watching a surprise reunion and keep your eyes dry. I probably looked like a drowned raccoon by the end of the first one.
My point here is that military families have to make a sacrifice. Some families might have to raise their children on their own while their spouse is on active duty. Other families may have to battle with keeping many jobs in order to provide for their families. But when you see your loved one take that first step toward you after all that time away, all the waiting and praying pays off.
I had never known anyone personally in the military before, but at the VFW competition I was in, I sat next to a boy who said he joined the National Guard. Instantly, I gained so much respect for him. It was humbling listening to him talk about his future position that he was taking on. It made me realize that almost everyone knows someone who was, is, or is going to be in the military. Maybe not personally, but we all know someone.
Whenever I see someone wearing that military uniform, I am sure to go up and thank them. I thank them for their service to their country and what they’re doing to protect me.
To all the past, present, and future military members, I thank you!
Becca Opp is a student at Farmington High School. Her column appears every other week.