Essay Written by Michaela Larson of New Providence Middle School
As part of the Clarksville Kiwanis Club’s Memories of Service and Sacrifice Project’s “Interview a Veteran Contest”
The military is important. The Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps all work together to keep our country safe. Ever since the attack on September 11th, 2001, our soldiers have been more highly respected and are more essential for our nation to survive. Most of us know at least one soldier. My soldier is my protector. He is my Dad. He joined the military in August of 1998 and has been serving for our country ever since. Some of the things he has sacrificed are time with his family, safety and friends.
My dad, Specialist Zechariah Larson, has been on four deployments for the Army and away from home for a total of over four years. His first time overseas began in March of 2003, when I was almost five. He was gone to Iraq for eight months.
The second deployment to Iraq started in August 2005, a mere two years later. He was gone for 15 months this time. It was not supposed to be that long but his stay was extended. The third time around was September 2007 for another 15 months. This was his last time in Iraq. The fourth tour was February 2010 to the end of January 2011. He has had to miss birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. However, when I receive a letter from my Dad, it makes up for the time lost.
Being in Iraq three times was scarier to him than his one time in Afghanistan. Although, every time he deploys he worries about his safety and the safety of his team. It is dangerous in the Middle East because the terrorists do not care about your life, family or your responsibilities. They would kill you if given the chance. However, taking another’s life is no joke, even to defend yourself. It is a huge weight to carry on your shoulders. It made my Dad feel extremely guilty when he killed his first guy. In addition, one of the worst experiences for my Dad was losing a friend.
Make no mistake, war is dangerous, even for trained soldiers who have been to war before. You could see your buddies die at any moment. Corporal Alexander Jordan, my Dad’s comrade, died while at war. It is not easy to get over something like losing a friend. You just have to move on. I know that my Dad will never forget him.
War is not a fun game like most boys imagine it to be. It is not an adventure and it is not like the video games picture it. It is a rivalry between countries as they fight for beliefs, territory and more. It causes unneeded death. War will never really be over. It’s not often a peace treaty is signed. It demands sacrifice for their service. It is very heroic to be willing to fight for every single person, good and bad, in this country. If you see a soldier, thank them for their service because they do more than you know.