Proud To Be An American
My desk is small, dimly lit by one single lamp, directed only at the keyboard in front of my computer monitor. My chair is straight backed and hard, assumingly to keep myself and my coworkers from becoming too comfortable and perhaps even catching a few z’s while on the job. We each have our own cubicle, but it is not decorated. Personal effects are contraband. I sit with my headphones on, not listening to today’s hit music or self motivational recordings, but instead a language that may seem foreign to most Americans. I have spent three years dedicating myself to understanding this language. I now spend 14 hours a day listening. Transcribing. Translating. I cannot close my eyes. I cannot drift my mind. I cannot call in sick or leave early for personal excuses. I am what sits between freedom and war. I am the bridge between miscommunication and understanding. I am the American military and I AM PROUD.
You see, I went to a recruiter. I signed the papers. I went through the boot camp and I remember each and every pushup I had to do. I spent years training for my field of work. I was denied leave to see my family. I was forced to sever ties with international friends. I repeated psychological testing every 6 months to retain my Top Secret clearance. I lived in a room with 5 other females, “dorm style”. I was subjected to white glove inspections. I reported in twice a day, had to workout a minimum of 15 hours a week, and had my physical strength tested. I was fed cafeteria style. I was assigned a uniform. I was given a rank. And for that, I AM PROUD.
I did not ask for war. I did not have a say in my “assignment”. I was not given the same liberties that I fought for. I was slandered by the media, harrassed by the people who were not serving, ridiculed by my political opposers. I was misunderstood. But I was patient, loving, and self sacrificing. And for that, I AM PROUD.
I returned home to a warm welcome. There was no parade, per se, but arms were open and the hugs never seemed to end. Sports game beginnings made me cry, because the sound of the National Anthem still gave me chills. I was thanked for my service and I celebrate not one, but three holidays! I traded stories with my dad, who is also a Veteran. Two generations, different branches, different jobs, but the same selfless heart. The same desire for freedom. The same dedication to a country we love. And for that, I AM PROUD.
A decade has passed since my discharge. My physique has changed a bit. I look forward to the burger recipe I will share with friends. The fireworks explode and the drinks are poured. This time, there is a parade. Little American flags are waved in the hands of tiny children. Face painting is matched with patriotic outfits. Swimsuits are abundant, popsicles melt, and laughter abounds. I watch those smiles. I see the love each family has for each other. I see friends coming together and celebrating. This is freedom. This is what I fought for. This is the American Dream. And for that, I AM PROUD.
"Independence Day in the United States is a day in July we never forget...from childhood through our growing years...to this moment! To many youth, it is fireworks and picnics, cherry bombs and Bar-B-Ques. To this combat pilot, it is a brilliant, explosive reminder of the length our military goes to preserve what our forefathers gave us on that day in 1776...the formation and preservation of The Greatest Nation on Planet Earth!"
John Heimburger, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)
667 combat missions in Viet Nam
Silver Star, (2) DFC's, and 26 Air Medals
Post Surgeon - VFW Post 12075 – Kingwood
“As a daughter of immigrants, I have a unique appreciation for America and the opportunities available to me here. I am so proud to serve as the first female Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4 Place 2. America is the only country where a man or a woman can strive to obtain our dreams. None of it would have been possible without our founding fathers and the divine wisdom they displayed in the founding of this great country.”
Judge Laryssa Korduba
Harris County Justice of the Peace
Precinct 4 Place 2
"Independence day should remind us that in order to stop tyranny in the world, we must be willing to fight for what we believe in no matter the personal sacrifice we must make. Our country was founded with that principle in mind and we must be diligent in protecting our values and rights for our children and grandchildren."
State Representative District 127
Major - Texas State Guard
"Independence Day represents the beginning of the greatest idea in human history: the American Dream. It marks the beginning of a new era where government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people"
Dan Crenshaw, Lt. Commander Navy SEALS (Ret.)
Two Bronze Stars (one with Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives,
Texas 2nd District