Jamaal Wheaton (Dec. 11, 2013) My Grandfather stormed the beaches of Normandy with thousands of his comrades to answer freedom’s call. Proudly he taught me the honor that should be held in serving one’s country. My father served in the United States Air Force and three of my Uncles, in the United States Army. Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts, and Awards of Recognition have donned the walls of nearly every male in my family. Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen standing tall and ready to carry the banner that my grandfather carried on that beach in 1944.
So here I am, the youngest grandchild in the family with a choice to make. Do I choose my own path, away from service or follow the path of the disciplined Soldier? Honestly I tried my own way. It didn’t work. My grandfather had built the desire too deep. And so, with my head held high and right arm in the air I chose to support and defend the constitution of the United States on February 5, 2004. For me it was a matter of living up to the heritage that had been laid before me. It was a choice of following in the footsteps of the amazing men in my family as well as those who have secured the freedom of this country.
When I saw my grandfather for the last time, words need not be spoken. I could see the pride in his eyes and feel it in his handshake. With my service, I honor him. When my uncle passed on and I stood before his flag draped casket, I realized why I chose this path. As I stared across that flag into the eyes of my fellow family members in uniform, I realized why we all do what we do for this country. With OUR service, we give honor to those that came before us.
(Photo by the United States Department of Defense, Wikipedia Commons)