It was sent via email to Sara from Jeleena, a heavy wheeled vehicle operator who convoys fuel, cargo, and personnel between bases in Iraq.
I just want to say a few things [about the ABC piece in which you appeared].
As a Soldier, I knew what I was signing up for when I joined the Army. It wasn't for college money, to travel, or to meet new people. Although those are great incentives. It was to fight a war. To defend our country at the drop of a hat when needed. The Army used to train you for active duty, but those times have changed, we train for war.
I joined July of '03 and we all know what happened on Sept. 11th, 2001. We knew something had to be done. We are America. It seems to me that when we're fighting, defending, or serving our country, this is when we are the strongest as people. Some soldiers will say they joined for citizenship, others so they can support their families, but when they sat down with the recruiter it was a job interview. He asked questions, they answered, he told them they could have the job and they said yes, when they still had the opportunity to say no.
I can only speak for myself and my family, but I know that everyone in my family didn't think it was a good idea. But I chose to be here when I swore in. I am here for whatever the Army asks of me. Who knows what may happen to me while here, but I tell my family and friends don't hold any feelings against the military or our President if something is to happen to me.
There was no draft. I said yes. Being a service member is a 24/7 thing. It's not turned off because you're a Reservist or in the National Guard. And I think a lot of parents of soldiers and soldiers themselves need to take a minute and realize the reason we're free is because of war. It's all about sacrifice. I love America. And although I may not agree or understand a lot of the things the military does or says, I said yes. And so did every other Soldier, Marine, Airman, and Seaman...
I could go on forever, but simply put we all said yes when we didn't have to. There is always a choice...
Jeleena, thank you for your service, and thank you for giving me permission to share your thoughts. Stay safe over there.