Why do you serve?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- What we saw on the morning of September 11, 2001, changed America forever. This was an unprovoked murder of 3,000 people, simply because they were American. 

There was a story written about a two year old girl named Christine Lee Hanson which hits home when I read it because I have a two year old daughter. Christine Lee Hanson was on her way to Disneyland with her parents. They died together aboard United Airlines Flight 175.

The actions of 9/11 sparked a new beginning for America. Almost every commercial and news station was playing something about the attacks. People saw the flag flying higher than ever before as Americans rallied together. People were reminded what the flag stood for and among all the hatred and violence in America people became a family again. People took pride in the flag and America.

Most people know the 13 stripes stand for the 13 colonies and the 50 stars stand for the 50 states. But more than the symbols, what does the flag stand for? I know what it stands for to me. It stands for pride, joy, strength, ability, safety and freedom. Pride for our country and ourselves. It gives hope and represents joy for the heroes who stood tall and still stand tall defending our country. The strength is in the hearts of all the American people. The flag stands for ability in all of us. Some of us can run or jump better than others, or we can draw or write better, but the point is that we must bring our abilities together. The colors come together to make the flag just as we must come together for this country. It also means safety because I know our country can pull through anything. By living here I know I'm safe and I can count on my country to keep it safe for those who live here.

Some people look at the flag and see a big piece of colored cloth. When I see the flag, I see heart, courage and respect. It's our symbol of freedom. If those we're fighting against can't see why we're fighting for this great country, then let us keep fighting until they see why we're not giving up on this country. Every day people serve their country in or out of uniform, civilian and military alike. Because of these actions we have the freedoms we love.
This is why I serve my country. Why do you serve?