Outwardly, I probably don't come off as the most "Amurikah, F**k yeah!" person you'll ever meet. I don't get teary eyed when I hear "Proud to be an American"either. However, I will never forget the times we would be standing in formation and hear someone yell something hateful our way. I will never forget our cadet commander telling me that what I was pledging to protect was that jerk's right to be angry with his military.
Now more than ever, I find myself identifying with those people who showed dissent. I would never disrespect members of the armed services in that way, but I can understand why those people were angry. And I feel intense relief knowing that I have the opportunity to have these thoughts, these feelings, because people are willing to go out and fight for something better than tyranny and oppression.
Today I thank all of my friends and family members who have given their time and their service towards upholding the Constitution of the United States. I thank them for enduring the hatred and the negativity. I thank them for spending long hours away from their families, and for making hard decisions. You are all in my heart, and I am so grateful for what you have given to me.
Happy Independence Day, everyone. I hope that whatever you choose to do today, you remember that there have been countless battles waged over your ability to make these choices.