We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofCarleigh Martin
This story takes place at my house when I moved into my new room. My sister moved downstairs which left her room available. I was ready for a change and decided I wanted to move in. I was getting settled and my dad came to see it. He complimented my new layout and then sat down on my bed.
 My dad was in the military as a Marine for four years. The time that he spent serving our country means everything to him. He always tells us stories from when he was at Camp Lejeune and stories from when he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan! I am proud to say my father is a former Marine. In the military you get dog tags. Dog tags are a metal necklace with your name, blood type, social security number, branch of military, and religion. My sister had his dog tags and kept them in her room, but when she moved out she gave them back to my dad. She didn’t want something so special getting lost as she moved things around. My dad decided he wanted me to have them since I was old enough to understand the importance of it. He even teared up a little when he gave them to me. 
When I got it, I wasn’t sure where I should put it. Then I saw a nail in the wall from where my sister had a piece of art hanging and I knew that that was the perfect place. Now they are hanging up on display for me to see every time I walk into my room. I can see how much this means to him and I am honored to have them hanging in my room. Whenever my friends come over they always ask why I have a random metal necklace hanging on my wall, when really that is so much more than just a metal necklace. 
My dad is such an important person in my life. We are so close and have been since I was a kid. I’ll always be his little girl no matter what. My dad used to go out of town a lot for his job. Just about every week he would be gone for three or so days at a time. Whenever I missed him I would just go up and hold his dog tags and it made me feel connected to him. My dad would come eat lunch with me as a kid and would pick me up from my daycare and take me to go play cards. He is a special person and I’m so glad that we are as close as we are. 
Family is such an important thing. My family means the world to me and I am so happy to have such a great family. Having as many family members as I do in the military has taught me a lot. These people serve our country and it gives me the utmost respect for them. A lot of bad things can come from being in war: shell shock, PTSD, etc. Many people don’t know just how bad those things can be. I think we as Americans need to be better educated on how much the military really does. It’s such an important role to be enlisted in the military. Luckily, I didn’t have to experience it, but I can't imagine not having my dad around for years of my life because of the military. I’m so glad I get to have something so special of his to call mine.

© Carleigh Martin. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.