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Commentary | March 26, 2012

Thank you... I will serve

By Staff Sgt. Kurt Heinz 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing

Editor's note: the Langley Chief's Group recently held an essay contest for staff sergeants and below to write about what it means to be in the military. The following is piece was written by Staff Sgt. Kurt Heinz, and was the winning entry.

Many countries have mandatory military service, we are fortunate to live in a country where the entire military consists of volunteers. This same fortune is the main reason the U.S. military is the strongest, most effective, and most efficient force the world has ever witnessed. Among all the different reasons one may serve, gratitude echoes the most within me.

I was born in Mexico, southwest Mexico. This region is among the poorest in the country. One can clearly see the disparity in socioeconomic classes in this area. A country with polar extremities: Mr. Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world on one side and on the other, poverty considered among the worst in the western hemisphere. Lucky for me, Mr. Slim was not my favorite uncle. Even though the United States of America did not birth me, it has molded me into the man I am today and has made an indelible footprint.

Whether you believe in destiny or pure coincidence, I was given the chance of a lifetime when I was adopted by this great nation. I was given the American Dream, a dream that has not diminished even after more than 230 years of existence. What better way to "pay it forward" than to serve in our Nation's military, where the dream is kept alive by fighting for what we value the most: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I could never fathom what life might have been had I not been adopted by my United States of America. For this, I can only say: 'Thank you, I will serve.'