Monday, April 16, 2007

Do You KNOW Your Army?

Meet Private Reuben Andrew Stringfellow, U.S. Army - born March 22, 1986, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In high school Reuben played football (Defensive and Offensive Line) four years on a 6A team that never failed to meet the highest standards, making their way to the quarter, semi, and final playoffs every year. Reuben excelled in History as well as Athletics, eventually graduating in 2005.

Upon graduation Stringfellow enrolled in Oklahoma City Community College to begin a path toward a Bachelors degree in Education. It was (and is) Reuben's dream to become a High School football coach at a 6A school in the state of Oklahoma after he has completed his duty with the Army. Reuben's hobbies include playing NCAA and Madden Football on Playstation 2, where he has developed and designed strategies which have allowed him 38 winning seasons as Head Coach. He develops and designs plays both for PS2 and for real life application. At 6'2", nearly 200 pounds, this solider is a certified Stryker driver in YOUR U.S. Army. Upon completion of his 3 1/2 years with the Army Stringfellow intends on enlisting in the National Guard.

Why am I telling you this? Because on September 21, 2006, when I stood with my son while he swore in, signed his contract and promised me and YOU that he would defend us - there was only one other set of parents in the room. 17 men and 2 women signed that session. We saw 2 other sessions before and 1 other session of enlistees following Reuben's signing and swearing-in. It was the same. There were NO parents to speak of, maybe one or two. There were no families, there were no loved ones, there was no one to send these men and women off. They went alone for the most part.

Upon graduation on January 26, 2007, at Ft. Knox, KY - there were over 400 men (only men) graduating, and only 50-60 of them had family members come to see them walk the stage - or in Reuben's case, march the stage! He was brilliant! He was beautiful - but so were all the others...and hardly 1/8 of the boys were able to show off for someone they love. THIS is YOUR Army. The men and the women who put their lives at stake for you, the men and the women who promise to protect you, the men and the women who volunteer to go to dangerous locations, do dangerous missions, and some of which NEVER return - don't have people to cheer them. They don't have people to write them, they don't have people to even thank them - and they do it over and over and over and over again....every minute, every day, every week, every month, every year - and we rarely lift a finger to appreciate them.

There are so many ways you can find out about a soldier and begin a real relationship with one. Just one. You don't have to write to 20 like I do, I got suckered in easily - I'm a marshmellow. I have 17 new sons and 2 new daughters - all wearing the same pajamas! I have beautiful children. Some of which I don't know their middle names! But I love them all. Please - get to know a soldier.

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