The Soldiers Creed

Melinda is my student. She is a lovely spirit, an artist, a gentle communicator, and smart as a whip. And she's leaving to serve in Afghanistan today. Yesterday I went to her company's send off. 150 soldiers in the gymnasium. Packed house with their families, and flags, and speeches. The air in the room was simultaneously sad and proud. Veterans were asked to stand and be acknowledged, and about a quarter of the room rose to its feet. I was stunned. With all my worldly experience and education, I have not been this close personally to our country's involvement in the middle east. It's a huge conundrum; I sat on the gym floor yesterday on the verge of tears the whole time, because I'm mad that we are the world's police, I am fundamentally opposed to our presence there, I'm sad that young people like Melinda who have such a promising future are the ones that go, for whatever reasons. Melinda, be safe. I am proud of you. This was the creed she recited with her company:

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.