6th Grader reads her brother's essay during Flag Day

6th-grader Emma Peck reads the essay ("To the servicemen and women past, present and future" that her brother, Tyler (GMU '09), wrote when he was in 6th grade in 2003. Tyler previously read his essay that same year at Arlington National Cemetery during the Safety Patrol Memorial Service.

Tyler is now a captain in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Bragg. He is a Blackhawk pilot and oversees enlisted soldiers in the aviation brigade.

Tyler's essay:

To the service men and women of the past, present and future.
Thank you for all that you do!
You don’t even know me
and you are risking your life to save mine.
While I’m eating warm, home-cooked meals,
you’re eating MRE’s.
While I’m sleeping in my warm, comfortable bed
you are sleeping if and where you can,
While I’m inside on a rainy day,
you’re outside getting soaked and cold.
While I’m deciding what to do with my day,
your day has already been decided for you.
While I’m trying to prevent boredom,
you’re wishing for just one minute of it.
While I’m watching T.V. or playing a game,
you’re watching you back
and the backs of your fellow soldiers.
While I’m spending holidays with my family,
you’re spending them with only thoughts
and memories of your relatives.
While I’m taking time to make daily decisions,
you must react instantly to life-threatening choices.
While I can stop and rest if I’m tired or not feeling well,
you must continue on with little regard to how you feel.
While we complain about everyday chores and responsibilities,
you are doing your job without complaint.
While others protest against the war,
you are defending their right to do so.
While others get recognition for jobs well done,
you do a fine job everyday with little or no recognition.
While others live daily, free of fear,
you must live every minute fighting to save your own and others’ lives.
For all you do,
I thank you!
Your determination does not go unnoticed.
While others idolize sports, TV, movie, and music stars,
you serve as my heroes.
Thank you for giving up all that you have
so that I may continue to have everything I do!
Thank you for giving up your freedom to protect mine!
Thank you for answering the call of duty!
Thank you for being so courageous and strong!
Thank you for making this country what it is today –
the greatest country in the world!
You are the heroes, true red, white and blue!
Thank you again for all that you do!
Someday I hope to have the honor of being one of you!

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