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Olivia KaChenChai

Navy daughter

Nov. 6, 2012 - 03:32PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 6, 2012 - 03:32PM  |  
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Having a father who is in the military has affected my life in ways that are astounding to think about. I am constantly moving: new town, new house, new school, new people. It has changed the way I see people and the world. I have experienced different cultures and people. I am good with change and meeting new people because of the effect the military has had on my life. When my father was sent to Iraq, he could not take me, so I had to stay home. I stayed home and learned to be responsible and how to be someone my dad could count on when he wasn't there. He was gone long enough that when he came home I was older. Not just physically but mentally. I had become more independent and able to make hard choices and good choices. I became someone I was proud of.

When asked as a child "who is your favorite superhero?" I would say that my favorite superhero was my dad when other children would say Superman. It wasn't because he was my dad or because he let me ride on his shoulders, but because even as a child I could tell he was an honorable man. He could walk into any room and people would just know he was the man to follow. I have always known his job and what he had fought for when he was in Iraq. This has given the pledge of allegiance I recite every school day a new meaning. It is a promise to my country. And every time I hear the national anthem or see Old Glory I feel this shiver inside me and I can't look away. Old Glory stands for this country. A country I love and will fight for. A country my father goes out to fight for every day — my father and many other fathers and mothers, daughters, sisters, sons and brothers. This in my eyes makes them larger than any Superman. The military has inspired my love for my country because if the military has men and women like my dad laying down their lives for this country then I know it's worth loving and fighting for.

Now, because of the military's influence I see life as an opportunity to embrace change and diversity. I see opportunity everywhere I go and in everything I do. Not many people I have met would be able to say this. The military service in my life has opened doors I didn't know were there for me. It has shown me how to seek out and open my own doors. The military service has always been one of the biggest parts of my life, and it always will be.

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