There is no simple way to describe the gratitude and love we feel towards those who willingly put themselves in harm’s way for our freedoms. The women and men of the armed forces are our protectors, yet they are more than that. They are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children and friends.
My family, like so many others, has members who have served or are still serving in the armed forces. They all stand out but one in particular is setting sail for a one-year tour in Afghanistan; my cousin, Lacy.
It would be easy to outline a detailed story of Lacy’s life and why she chose to join the Army but instead, I will pay tribute to all the reasons that she is loved. All soldiers have a face; this is hers.
Lacy’s family is steadfast. They keep her grounded, especially little nephew Maxwell. While they admire her bravery and love for her country; they are as terrified as she is. The silent tears streaming down her mother’s face upon saying another goodbye denotes what every mother feels when seeing their child leave to a war-torn country. All military mothers feel that innate fear that their child will not come home alive. Her family is her rock.
At the age of 26, most young adults are enjoying new jobs after stints in college or making their rounds in the dating scene. Soldiers such as Lacy put commitment to their country first, which many her age find hard to fathom in the sometimes shallow world we live in. The courage to face adversity in the hands of countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan will be something that many of us will never experience. Lacy does it with charisma and fortitude with a healthy dose of fear.
Some say that it’s hard to find a woman that embodies both beauty and intelligence. Lacy is both with a side of fiesty that is quite exceptional. She exudes radiance every time she speaks about her second family: her “fur-babies”. Not everyone has a ferret named Ted Nugent or buys tennis shoes for their dog, yet Lacy does. Her love of animals has led her to study veterinary science. Along with her love of all creatures great and small, she has a knack for karaoke as well. No one sings Adele better than she does.
Lacy has five years left in her time with the United States Army. She has never complained about her service; she has only embraced it. When I think about the veterans on Veteran’s Day, my mind always turns to my cousin despite those that have served before her. She embodies what every young modern soldier is: fighter, family, and friend with a heaping spoonful of respect from all those that love her.