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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The USA (01/08/09)

TITLE: My Country, My Duty, and My Life
By joanna reed


My heart was racing. My fingers were starting to go numb. I was breathing rapidly and still felt unable to catch my breath. I could not seem to calm down. I bent my knees and knelt down. I then proceeded to kiss my fingers and then laid my fingers on the tarmac.
I was in New Jersey. I was getting ready to board a 747 and cross the ocean. It was January 14, 1991. I prayed that God would allow me to kiss the ground again. My love for this country was the reason I was here and I prayed that God’s love for me would bring me back. Then I began to remember the events that lead to that day.
As a child, I loved saying the pledge allegiance to the flag. I was sure that I said it louder than anyone else. My family felt this country was the greatest place on earth. I learned this at an early age and still believe this to be true even today.
After going to nursing school, an Army Recruiter described the benefits to being an Army nurse. I had two young children and I wanted them to live safely in this country so I felt it was my duty to help. I was not a taker. I was reaping the benefits of others contribution to this country so I needed to do my part. The pay was much less than what I made in my position as a nurse in the secular community but I wanted to make a difference in life and show gratitude for others generosity to making our country secure. So, I joined the Army Reserve.
So here I was in New Jersey. I was going to war. I had read on the statistics of war. In most wars only thirty percent of those who were sent out returned back to this country. So, there I was asking God to let me return.
Seven hours after landing bombs went off over our heads. There were four hundred of us standing under a parking lot for shelter. We had left the airport only one hour before the first bomb. People panicked. I helped others put on their personal protective gear because fear made them incapable of moving. I can assure that God gave me perfect peace. There I was in a parking lot with fragments landing on the roof of this garage and I was calm. To this day I have never felt such peace before or since and I thank God for His grace in this situation.
We were not taken to the camp where newcomers were to go. I know that God ordained this because within a few days upon arrival a whole company had a scud blow right through their camp which is exactly where we were suppose to be. There was many who died and many others were injured.
I spent six long months in Saudi Arabia working with the five surrounding prisoner of war camps in the desert. We did not have television or daily news casts so we did know what was going on around us. We did know the bombing did not last long but the daily black oil bathes were uncomfortable. The wind brought blinding storms and thick black oil. The oil found its way on everything. However, the loneliness was almost unbearable.
I finally returned to the U.S.A. I kissed the tarmac again. All I can say with true love, dedication and gratitude “God bless America”.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Heslink01/15/09
What an experience! I can't even imagine. God is truly good. Thanks for sharing such a personal situation.
Karlene Jacobsen01/19/09
Thank you for sacrificing your comfort and time with your family for our country.