By James Ryan, Editor-in-Chief

Your Life is precious.

Whether being involved in high risk training, or in armed combat, we as Veterans of our military, have perhaps lost friends, or family members. We have witnessed first-hand our brethren severely injured in training, wounded or killed in battle. We have been taught some extremely cruel lessons in life, and by being subjected to all kinds of traumatic events-negative energy, we lost our innocence. I personally remember sitting down and having breakfast with 1SG Michael Curry, the First Sergeant of our Heavy Weapons Company, 1-503D IN BN. As Michael and I broke bread together, he was giving me needed advice on my new job as the Task Force Chief of Operations. I recall the entire conversation like it was yesterday. After eating Michael Curry headed out on a mounted combat patrol maneuvering into our Task Force’s southern sector. Approximately 4 hours after having breakfast with Michael Curry, he and 3 others in his up armored HMMWV were killed instantly from an IED ambush, with another Soldier burned severally in the gunner’s turret. I was the last person to ever sit down and have a meal with 1SG Michael Curry. It was life’s way on giving me a “face smashing” on how precious our lives are. This event, though cruel and straight up unfair, forced me to size up my own life, and to live my life each day to the fullest. You are here one day, and gone the next. I am here and fortunate to be able to talk to people about Michael Curry, the man he was, and the impact he made on others. 

Through our high risk training, and combat experiences, we never felt so alive, exhilarated if you will, because when going through this, we were so close to severe injury, or death. For all the monotonous and tedious-sometimes just inhumane work, which often equated to thousands of hours, we got to do and experience something for perhaps just 15 minutes that most dream of.

Your life in an inspiration. You are literally an everyday walking, and talking chain-reaction. You fully understand this having been through realistic training, and your deployments, that there are a wide variety of things and issues you have little control over, including the fact that your enemies had a vote on whatever plans you hoped to achieve. You have had to handle chaos, extreme fatigue, and sleepless nights. You went without, to accomplish any task in front of you. However, you are now convinced more than ever, because you have been tested on all levels, emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally, and academically, that your attitude, that’s right, your ATTITUDE, is truly the only thing you have any type of control over.

You are a living inspiration to those around you. Your level of responsibility you have had to maintain, your knowledge and experiences on a broad level, make you value added to any organization, corporation, and your community. You are only 1% of our population, and a National Treasure to our future generations of Americans. You know and fully understand how precious our lives are. You did not just serve. In many cases you suffered.

You are NOT damaged goods. Your Life is an Inspiration to those around you.