Why I wear the uniform


Airman 1st Class Abigail Vasbinder, 50th Operations Support Squadron



To wear the uniform is more than to put on clothes and say you are going to do something. Putting on a uniform means taking on something bigger than yourself. To put the country’s needs, desires and commitments before yours.

I have many reasons for joining, one reason is because of tradition. It’s a legacy passed down from my grandfather, who wore it during WWII in the Army. Then to my great uncle Bob, and my dad, who wore it in the Cold war as a Marine. To someone I once called my brother in 9/11.  And now it’s down to me. It’s a hard standard to live up to, but we all do it every day when we put on that uniform.

There’s another reason I wear this uniform, and this was the big one; I mentioned him earlier. It’s for someone I’ve considered a brother for a long time.

It all started when 9/11 happened. I don’t remember much, I was about three at the time, but I do remember the aftermath.

I remember all the neighbor’s children who were old enough going to swear in, and their families had a flag for each one of them. The ones that were used at the beginning of WWII, the ones with a blue star in the middle. Soon after, someone I considered a brother told me he was joining the military as well. Being almost four, at the point I didn’t understand why he had to leave too.  Before he left, he said the most powerful thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

He looked at me and said, “I’m going for you. I’m going so when you’re my age you won’t have to worry about them anymore. I’m going so you won’t have to.”

At the time, I didn’t understand. I didn’t have the time to before it was too late. He was killed on the front lines. 6 months after he got there.

Flash-forward to today, where I have four nephews and a niece. Those words I was told so long ago, I tell them now. “I’m here so you don’t have to be. So you don’t have to worry.”

My service is not just for my nephews and niece. It’s for children everywhere. The neighbor’s’ children.

For your children, for the children in Syria. I put this uniform on so they don’t have to worry about it when they’re my age. They don’t have to worry about it at all. I’ve put on this uniform so everyone after myself has a choice to. Whether it’s now or later.

So let me ask you, as a member of the United States military, why do you put on the uniform?