military, Personal

A Uniform With Sacrifice

Uniform Inspired by the Daily Post.

I wear this camouflaged uniform with a patch over my heart that says “U.S. AIR FORCE”.
I think back to the day where my instructor yelled “There’s a reason why U.S. Air Force is over your heart and your last name isn’t; you put the Air Force first.”
I get that now.
I thought I got it then, but I get it now.

There’s a lot of sacrifice that comes with putting this uniform on.
The Air Force chooses where & when they want you and then they decide how long they want you for.
Sometimes that doesn’t work out with what you have planned so you have to start all over again.
This is especially true for families.
For the civilian spouse who can’t find a job at their new location.
For the kids whose favorite school program or sport isn’t offered at their new school.
For the mom who is stationed in California while her husband and kids live in New York because the kids only have a few more years of high school left. So they make it work with weekend trips and holiday visits. medal
For the families that quickly turn into a single-parent homes while the spouse is deployed.
It’s hard to plan when you don’t know what’s next.

As time goes by, you sacrifice little pieces of yourself.
You are to dress a certain way, act a certain way, say things a certain way.
There are 190 pages about what an individual will or will not wear in the U.S. Air Force and we’re taught to follow it and enforce it.
You have the honor of meeting a variety of people, but because of the rank structure, are restricted on which of these people you get to make friendships with.
You change yourself a little bit at a time to meet these standards and with that, you lose some of yourself.

But losing little pieces isn’t always a bad thing.
Because as you lose those pieces, you get to pick up new pieces and make a new you.
You get to make a version of yourself that you never thought  you could be.

vetdinnerI am capable.
I am professional.
I am a strong, independent woman.
Whatever the Air Force throws at me, I can handle.
Because I’m resilient.

That’s what sacrifice has taught me.
This sacrifice isn’t pointless but a way to make us stronger.
There’s a reason it’s one of our core values. Service before self.
When we signed our name on the dotted line, that’s what we signed up for.
I get that now.

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