To My Sisters. Fourth in a series of veterans’ responses to the insurrection.

To My Sisters. By Valerie Peralta.

We’ve shared quite a journey. We raised our right hands and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We put on the uniform, last name embroidered on the right and branch of service on the left—over our heart. We spent months in classrooms, at the range, and in the field learning to fight and defend the Constitution. We adopted the military’s values as our own—Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. We were serving to preserve freedom.

We were young and didn’t understand what freedom really meant.  

We left active duty, served in the Reserve, and then married. No one was surprised we chose military men. It wasn’t easy packing up our homes to move from one duty station to the next—leaving jobs we liked, saying goodbye to routines, assuring our children they would make new friends—but we understood enough to know our sacrifices were worthwhile. Our spouses’ service helped secure freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to live as we pleased. After they retired from active duty and became civil servants, we knew the goal remained the same—support and defend the Constitution.

We know these men are not some nefarious “deep state” operating in the shadows to steer the country away from our elected government.

And now, our babies—the children we once comforted during every deployment and move—are choosing to serve. As they don U.S. military uniforms, we send them care packages filled with beef jerky, trail mix and candy that won’t melt. We gather online, turning our worries into prayers to support our children who want to continue the family tradition of honorable service.

We finally know how our mothers felt when we were the ones in uniform.

But in the weeks since our nation’s Capitol was stormed by insurrectionists intent on stopping the confirmation of a President who was elected in a bedrock process that has sustained American democracy for over two hundred years, I have seen you. On Facebook. On Instagram. On Twitter. I have seen you call the election a fraud. I have seen you say that Trump is “still my President.” I have even seen you dwell on the conspiracy that the rioters were “Antifa,” attempting to make the defeated president look bad.

I don’t understand.

I think about the journey we took, my sisters—veteran, military spouse, military mom. And I don’t know where, or how, your path veered. I don’t know where, or how, you walked away from that oath and all that it means. All I can do is look forward to the day we reaffirm our oath to the Constitution, so everyone living in this land may truly breathe free.

Signed, Your Sister.

Valerie Peralta is proud to be a veteran, an Indiana University alumna, a retired-Army wife and an Army mom. 

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