Since I arrived in Afghanistan earlier this year, I have read numerous Facebook and Twitter status updates from friends discussing their holiday weekend trips to exotic destinations, romantic dates and sales at their favorite department stores. I have been vicariously living through their festive experiences but during Â the Independence Day weekend the bitter jealousy of not being home for the holidays kicked in again.Â Sigh.
Next week, I will enter my sixth month in the combat zone.Â Every morning I wake up thankful for another day.Â And though I was not home to celebrate July 4th, the day America declared itself an independent nation, I will be in Afghanistan, defending this nationâ€¦ but also celebrating my independence.
When this deployment ends, Iâ€™ll be a free agent like LeBron James independent to make my own decision of which next move is right for me.Â I am in the Army Reserves, so I will be a civilian again upon my return to the United States.Â I have a bachelorâ€™s degree and two combat tours under my belt.Â Like LeBron, I feel like I am desirable by a lot of recruiters because I have so much to offer.Â But unlike LeBron, Iâ€™m broke.Â I donâ€™t have the mansion and multiple cars and managers begging me to choose them.Â Itâ€™s quite the opposite, but I am optimistic.
I have been on my own since I was 17 years-old when I first enlisted and while there have been moments of doubt and disappointments in my life as I have travelled through my early years of adulthood, my independent attitude (and Godâ€™s Mercy) has gotten me through it all.Â As a young Black woman, I am perceived to be â€œMiss Independentâ€ because I was raised to not depend on others to do what I can do for myself. Â I stand by that claim, and living proof that in time you will see the fruits of your labor from working hard and simply â€˜doing you.â€™
Now I must admit, this Independence Day I wished I couldâ€™ve been somewhere by an ocean breeze sipping on a virgin daiquiri ;-), but there wasnâ€™t a minute that day that I was not be humbled by the thought that there are so many that will never get that opportunity again.Â This was my independent decision to come here, pay off my credit card debt, pay back that money I owe this lady named Sallie Mae and try to make my own little impact on the Afghan people.Â I am quite content about my decision.Â Besides, next month is the â€œMonth of No American Holidaysâ€ but I will be celebrating my own holidayâ€¦ MY BIRTHDAY!Â And I will be back in the U.S. to do it!
Lest we forget as Americans those who have fallen for our flag.Â And if you donâ€™t respect the war, at least respect what we doâ€¦
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