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I Am an American

Patrick AFB, Fla. -- I've had the wonderful opportunity to serve my country and live overseas for the last 7 years. In my travels, I've often been asked by the local nationals "Where are you from?"

I know they ask because they are curious about my nationality and ethnicity. Although we all try to practice good Operational Security by blending in with our surroundings and avoiding unnecessary attention, I still reply, "I am an American."

I know that there are segments of the population in foreign countries where anti-American sentiment exists. That is fine, that is their right. But, I am proud of being an American and I don't hide that fact.

As much as I've enjoyed the experiences of being overseas, it is still good to come home to the USA. I cherish the freedom and the opportunities that America provides. What other country would allow the child of immigrant parents to move to their country, attend the best universities and commission them as officers to eventually serve as a commander in their Armed Forces? I would challenge you to find another country outside the USA.

As refreshing as it is to be in a place where our service as military members is valued and appreciated, there are times, I think, that we forget that we are a Nation still at war.

It can be difficult when our economic situation on the home front and the busyness of everyday life distracts us from the direct effects of the war, but we cannot let down our guard nor forget why we serve.

I hope that we will continue to support our brothers and sisters in arms and that we will always take a moment to remember, as we did this past weekend on "9-11", that "freedom isn't free, and for those who've fought and died for it, life and freedom have a flavor that the protected will never know." (Anonymous)