In my speech at Escape I included The Soldier's Creed. If you don't know--I'm an Army brat--through and through. I love the Army. My whole life has revolved around the Army.
When I practiced my speech day after day for weeks, I would usually not read The Soldier's Creed. How hard is it to read what is right there printed in front of you, right?
When I did practice The Soldier's Creed, I was fine until I got to one particular part. Each time, this one part would make me stop in my tracks and I would feel myself start to cry. Feeling of sadness would swell up inside me. I thought about my Dad, who was a "lifer" in the Army, and all the times had to leave us. Back then, I didn't understand what was going on. Why did Daddy have to leave me? Was it something I did? Why couldn't I go too? All these questions were never answered because I never asked them out loud.
Being married to my soldier husband only three weeks, Zip left me to go to Vietnam. I did understand why he had to go but it didn't make it any easier to live day after day without him. Back then, there was no email. There were only letters, and yes, I've kept ALL the letters he ever wrote to me. While there, he even wrote poems for me. Magical poems that help bridge the distance between us. His words would sing into my heart and would calm the fear and loneliness I felt.
And so. . . as hard as I tried to FORCE myself not to cry while reading The Soldier's Creed, it didn't matter. I ended up crying, re-living my emotions that I had to endure by myself, way back when as a child and as a child bride.
It's one thing to cry in the privacy of your home with nobody looking but it's another thing to cry in front of a group of ladies! I told myself that I CANNOT cry while reading The Soldier's Creed at Escape! I will not cry!!!!!!!
And, I'm happy to tell you that I didn't cry while reading The Soldier's Creed in my speech at Escape.
That doesn't mean my heart wasn't heavy with the sadness I feel to this very day. All the mothers, wives, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, all the people who must TODAY live with the fear and loneliness of their loved ones being away because "it's their duty to go." Soldiers living The Soldier's Creed everyday of their lives.
No. . . I didn't cry at Escape. . . my tears were hidden, falling quietly, inside myself.
The words that comprise The Soldier's Creed are simple words, nothing complicated about them. It's the meaning behind the words that is anything but simple!
The words are powerful. . . and beautiful. . . but sad at the same time.
A soldier who lives by The Soldier's Creed is a person who is willing to give up their life for you and me! My Dad was willing to do it, as was my husband.
I wanted to share The Soldier's Creed with those attending Escape because I wanted them to know who I was and how I got to where I am today (as a person). I don't live The Soldier's Creed but I saw first-hand two soldiers (my Dad and my husband) who did, and the love I have in my heart for them and this country is beyond measure.
This is The Soldier's Creed--
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.