Sweet Home New Mexico: Proud to be part of a select few

Sometimes, I wonder if I am the only one that feels a special sense of pride when I hand my military I.D. to the friendly gate guards as I make my way onto the base. As soon as I am beyond the gate, I can’t help but feel this little surge of glee that I get to be a part of something as honorable as a military career.

I live it vicariously through my husband, but I live it every bit as much as he does, except I don’t have to wear those lovely little P.T. shorts three times a week! It’s a feeling I hope I never take for granted, as only 1 percent of the population of the United States will ever have the opportunity to feel it.

I feel special when I don’t pay tax on things at the BX. I feel special when I get to shop case lot sales at the commissary. I feel special that we get a raise every January when so many are unemployed. I feel special when businesses offer discounts to military members and their dependents. Taking my family to Disney World for four days, for a fraction of the cost of what the rest of the world pays, and a free trip to Sea World lets me know the service we and our spouses give is indeed appreciated.

I am thankful my kids have clean, safe places to be entertained on base at the library, pool and bowling alley. I cry every time we are at the theater and they play the national anthem before a movie begins. Sometimes, I feel silly being emotional over such things. I have a great sense of thankfulness when I take my three kids to the doctor dozens of times each year and don’t ever hand over any money for copays or services rendered. I get tears in my eyes when I am on base at 5 p.m. on weekdays and pull my car over as retreat is being played.

We live in the greatest country in the world. Our government may have some flaws, but I find even the people that complain about the way things are done would never want to live anywhere else. I can think of no better way to show gratitude for this great land and the freedoms and blessings we enjoy as American citizens than to spend a portion of one’s life serving it of his or her own volition. So, here’s to the 1 percent! Whether you are a cook in the chow hall or the chief of staff of the Air Force, you are all heroes in my book.