Brewton made difference in life of visiting soldier

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2003

By Staff
(Editor's Note: The following letter originally appeared in the May 19 edition of Air Force Times. It is published here with permission.)
To the editor:
As I approach my 20th anniversary in the Air Force, I feel a wonderful sense of contentment. Most people in my position look forward to the time when they will retire. Not this blue-suiter. Though retirement was a nice thought for a while, there was one incident that changed my whole perspective.
I took leave during my kid's spring break in March to see my dad in Florida. We sidetracked to the University of Alabama so my son could go to an orientation session at his future school.
We drove through the small town of Brewton, Ala. We stopped at the local Wal-Mart. As we were checking out, they asked us to wait for a minute while they all went outside. There was a young man from their store on his way to Iraq and they wanted to wish him well.
I felt a tremendous sense of pride right then, not for me, but for the military. It didn't stop there. As we drove through this small town, it looked as if everyone was out by the road. Yellow ribbons were attached to every tree and light pole. Not one person I noted was without a flag or sign in his hands. They were all cheering for the National Guard being deployed.
I started crying. My husband, who has never been in the service, said, "I understand now, this is why you do what you do."
I wish all my children had been able to see this small town that has vitalized my belief in good and that I too can make a difference in what I do. We all make a difference in the lives of not just those around us, but those within our great nation. Air Force, thanks for the experience. Brewton, thanks for the confirmation and wake-up call.
Capt. Jannette M. Booden-Elliot
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

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