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Why I wear the uniform

Airman Jesse Sands, 50th Space Communications Squadron. (Courtesy photo)

Airman Jesse Sands, 50th Space Communications Squadron. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- --

First and foremost, I wear the uniform out of a duty and obligation.  As a United States Airman, sworn to defend and protect, I also swore to abide by the rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Which in effect, through my chain of command, gives me a direct order to don said uniform each day I report in to work.  Be it in Air Force physical training gear, my Airman Battle Uniforms or my service dress, it is my first responsibility of the day, and perhaps my proudest.

Secondly, I wear the uniform in honor of my late grandfather; he served in the Army and the Marine Corps for many years before retiring to be with his family and live a long, happy life.  I wear it to honor my mother and my father, both who have served in the United States armed forces.  My father stands proudly as a Lieutenant Colonel to this day in the Army National Guard, whereas my mother bravely gave up her career to raise three children on her own.  I could not be more grateful for either one of their influences.  Without them, I would not have had the courage it took to get where I am today.

I wear this uniform because I earned the right to.  I pushed past my own limitations.  I took steps I never thought possible of myself.  I learned how to believe in myself after years of doubting I could ever take up the oath and swear my life to something greater than myself.  I also wear this uniform because of the smile my wife gives me on my way out the door every morning.  I wear this uniform for the same reasons everyone in this service does.  This uniform represents us, it represents what we do, it represents our families, friends, brothers and sisters in arms as well as all of those who are sworn to protect.

I do not wear this uniform because I want to.  I wear it because I must.  I have too much to be proud of, and I have way too much to be thankful for to not give this uniform, nor anyone else wearing it, the respect they rightly deserve.