I was a United States Sailor.
I still support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America though I no longer obey the orders of those once appointed over me.
Following the legacy of my grandfather, I represented the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who had gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly served my country’s Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.
I was (and still am) committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.

~rewritten from the Sailor’s Creed, based on the idea from an similar re-write on a former shipmate’s FB status

In 2003 I left college just before the start of my senior year to join the United States Navy. I enlisted as an E-3 deck seaman with a guaranteed “A” school to become a hospital corpsman as part of an enlistment program that no longer exists. I joined the military because of a burgeoning sort of general discontent with the prospect of “settling” for a middle class, middle American, middle of the road existence. I joined the Navy because I love the beach and my grandfather’s sea stories. The enlistment bonus and the GI Bill didn’t hurt…but the desire to do something *else* and something *more*, something *different* and *better*, something *life changing and important* was the strongest impetus.  For six years I served my country, first as a deck seaman and then as a hospital corpsman.

Like any halfway introspective current or former military member, I can say that I didn’t always agree with the decisions that my country has made, or what was told to do or how to do it.  I can say that I have bled, sweat and cried for my country.  That I have carried out many a long, caffeinated night, standing watch overseas, on the sea and at home on shore.  And I have been blessed in my service–to meet a wonderful man that would become my husband and have two children with, to meet interesting people from around the globe (yes, globe–I have personally served in the United States Navy with persons from places as varied as the Philippines, Peru, Nigeria, Liberia, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Equador, Russia and even China), to travel the world (75% of the world is water) and live by the sea (and sometimes on it), and to serve not only my country but the men and women that serve and have served our country (as a hospital corpsman, my job was to provide medical care for active duty, veterans and retirees and their families).

Our family celebrates Veteran’s Day–not just on the 11th of November, but every day…and not just because we happen to be veterans.  We celebrate this day every day to remember the men and women that have given up a portion of their lives up to and including their life for this country and its citizens to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.  We do this because less people today truly understand the sacrifice of military service than at any other time in our nation’s history.  We remember and honor that sacrifice…sometimes with five simple words, and sometimes with our time and our pocketbooks.  And we pray…that our service and that of our brothers and sisters in uniform is remembered, that it has meaning and that it has made a difference.

Spirit of Life
whom we have called by many names
in thanksgiving and in anguish–

Bless the poets and those who mourn
Send peace for the soldiers who did not make the wars
but whose lives were consumed by them

Let strong trees grow above graves far from home
Breathe through the arms of their branches
The earth will swallow your tears while the dead singe
“No more, never again, remember me.”

For the wounded ones and those who received them back,
let there be someone ready when the memories come
when the scars pull and the buried metal moves
and forgiveness for those of use who were not there
for our ignorance

And in us, veterans in a forest of a thousand fallen promises,
let new leaves of protest grow on our stumps
Give us courage to answer the cry of humanitity’s pain
And with our bare hands, out of full hearts,
with all our intelligence
let us create peace.

~a Memorial Day prayer by Barbara Pescan, from the UUA’s booklet “Bless All Who Serve”