Monday blues

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sondra Escutia
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Unlike Alamogordo and the hundreds of other military communities, people in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa, do not get the chance to associate with servicemembers much.

In fact, aside from the occasional recruiter visit at my high school, I had never actually seen a military member in uniform until I decided to become one.

Needless to say, when I left for basic military training in August 2007, I had no idea about how the military worked, what it was like or that my life was about to change drastically.
My recruiter answered all of the questions I had, but even as he got out of his seat to teach me how to stand at attention, I didn't understand how that piece of information could benefit me or when I'd ever use it.

Five months later, after six weeks of BMT and three months of technical school, my repertoire of everything military was nearly overflowing, and the things that my recruiter tried to teach me finally made sense.

I returned to my hometown to perform recruiter's assistance, and was excited to hear that my first task would be to go talk to the students at Hempstead High School -- the school I had just graduated from months earlier.

Preparing for my early high school "reunion", I stood in the bathroom of the house that felt more like home than ever before. I looked in the mirror and made sure that not one hair on my head was unsecure and that the three ribbons on my service coat were in perfect alignment.

As I walked into the familiar hallway, I felt different. I was not walking in there in the same way I had for the past four years. Heads were turning when I walked toward the commons area in my neatly ironed service blues pulling a black briefcase of Air Force memorabilia behind me.

That day may or may not have had any significance to them at all, but to me, it was the moment I realized that I was a newer, better version of the young woman I was only a few months earlier. I looked around at the other young adults around me and couldn't be more excited to tell them about this great opportunity that could transform them too.

On that day, while wearing that uniform amongst a crowd of my peers, I stood tall and proud.

That is a day I will never forget. When I'm sitting at my desk on Monday morning in my blues, I do not complain that they fit me funny, or that the material is uncomfortable or that I'd rather be in my ABUs.

I remember why I wear it and that feeling I had on that day -- the same one I share with only a small percentage of Americans: the pride of being a member of the United States military.