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Why I wear the uniform

Airman 1st Class Kevin Cruz, 50th Security Forces Squadron

Airman 1st Class Kevin Cruz, 50th Security Forces Squadron

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Less than one percent of the United States population serves in the Air Force. It's a statistic I've heard many times since I signed on the dotted line. It's a powerful figure, but I used to think nothing of it. Whenever someone would thank me for my service or commend me for my decision to wear the uniform I would downplay it and assure him or her that it was nothing; that I signed my enlistment contract in the same way one signs the receipt for dinner, or the title to their new car. It was just a formality, just paperwork. But what I failed to realize is that I was signing up not just for a job, but for a career and a way of life.

I've worn uniforms before, for sports teams and jobs. But they were just that, uniforms. I wore them because I had to, as an identifier, so my teammates could spot me from across the field and customers knew who to come to with their questions. The Air Force uniform is different. It's more than an identifier; it's a symbol. It signifies freedom, sacrifice, heritage, tradition and honor for those who served before us. It promises a future for those yet to come. To wear the Air Force uniform is to adopt these beliefs and values, and I do so proudly every day. As soon as you put it on you become part of the family, and as long as you do right and respect the uniform, the Air Force will take care of you.

So why do I wear the uniform? I wear it to secure my future and honor the past. I wear it to protect my friends and family. I wear it to better myself. I wear it for pride of all it stands for. I wear it not because I have to, but because I choose to, to carry my own weight and to gain a sense of ownership in the freedoms I enjoy every day.
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