But this weekend, when President Trump honored my father’s ultimate sacrifice during his annual Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery, it felt different.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ygTlEJx1QQ] In 2004, my father, a Marine Corps helicopter pilot, was shot down by enemy fire in central Iraq. He was just 39 years old. He left behind my mother, who had turned 40 just days earlier, my brother, age 8, and me, just 10 years old. I was so young — all I remember is a feeling of deep fear and a newfound indelible connection to my two remaining family members.
Flowers poured in, casseroles arrived by the dozens and my family did its best to make it through the rest of the year. Slowly but surely, we recovered. But my father’s death had changed me.
The sadness turned into a swelling pride for my dad’s sacrifice and for my country. It led me to major in American Studies in college. And it ultimately led me to go into journalism, where I seek the truth and insist on an undying reverence for the greatest country to have ever graced this planet.
So when I heard President Trump tell the entire nation about my dad this weekend, things felt like they came full circle. My father was never one for fame or titles, but he would have been proud to see my family standing tall as his name reverberated through the nation’s most hallowed grounds. It’s a memory that will stay with me for as long as I live, and my resolve to seek the truth and remain faithful to this country is now stronger than ever.
Semper fidelis, that’s what my dad always told me.
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