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As Americans, we have learned that freedom is not free. The freedom we now enjoy we owe to the men and women of our great military. I happen to know this, as my father has served in the United States Army for more than 14 years. My father's service in the military has taught me a lot. Besides the many practical areas that I can apply to my daily life, it has taught me to love and appreciate our country even more, to better appreciate and respect the sacrifice of the men and women who serve in the military and to cherish the time with my father even more.
I have learned to be a patriot. We live in a country with freedoms that allow every American to express their own opinions, serve their own religion, and pursue success and happiness. We must protect it at whatever cost. I know now how high the cost of our freedom is. It is built upon the blood, tears and sacrifices of our servicemen and women.
I have learned to respect and appreciate our servicemen and women. They are willing to sacrifice their time, families, even their lives as I am reminded of the Bible verse that says "greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). I appreciate the sacrifices that the families make as their loved ones fight for our freedom. I admire their selflessness as they fight on our behalf while keeping us safe.
After being apart during deployments, I know now to enjoy even the little things in life. My family has had to learn how to maximize our time with [my dad] since we have spent so much time away. When my father was deployed, we had to learn to do all things without him. I have become more independent and self-reliant. Many may see this as a negative, but my father has taught me to turn it in to a positive experience teaching to become a better person in the end. Now, I have learned to make the most of my time with my father. I thank God and cherish every minute I have with him.
Through my father's service, I have learned a lot. His military service has made me more aware of the sacrifices needed to protect our wonderful country and respect those in the military community, as I can relate to other kids whose parents have served or continue to serve, and has made stronger than most kids my age. I thank God for my father and the many who serve in our military. May God bless them and keep them.