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I was an infant when my father was deployed with the Army. He was called to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom in February 2003. He was gone for the first year of my life. Of course I don't remember anything from that time, but my father has talked to me a lot about his time away. He has taught me many things, but here are some of the most important.
The first thing I learned about is integrity. I was taught to always do what is right, to always be honest, even when I am afraid. I was also taught about loyalty. I learned that I need to be faithful to my family and my country. My father says that this is called "to bear true faith and allegiance." This means that you believe in and devote yourself to something, like the United States, or to someone, like your family. I was taught to show my loyalty to the United States by showing respect for our flag and how to properly display and fold it.
My father has taught me about duty. Duty means that you understand what is expected of you, that you have responsibilities which you must always do to the best of your abilities. My father went to war, even though he did not want to leave his family, because he had a duty to serve his country. My duty right now is to go to school and to be the best student that I can be.
I have also learned about personal courage. I have been taught that I need to always do the right thing even if my friends don't agree with me. An example would be if someone in my school is being bullied, I know that I would need to defend them, even if some of my classmates would not like me for it.
I have always been taught to treat people with respect and I expect others to do the same. Everyone and all of God's creation should be treated with respect. I have also been taught about service to others. It is important to give back to others without expecting to get something back or a reward.
My father talks to me a lot about developing the habit of being honorable, and practicing the values of respect, duty, loyalty, service, integrity and personal courage in everything that I do. My father is the most honorable man I know and he has taught me what honor and respect really mean. I love my father with all of my heart and I am very proud of him.
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