“I, Noël Green, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

It was sixteen years ago I spoke these words and felt them resonate in my heart. At 18 years old, I was choosing to serve a greater purpose than myself and my family. I was choosing to be willing to lay down my life to protect the freedoms so many take for granted. Sixteen years have passed. I have served my country at home and overseas and, as a Veteran, will never underestimate the power of that Oath. I live everyday knowing that I, along with countless others, have a distinction that will continue to live on long after we have passed. We are the history makers.

USAF Veteran Noel Green-Ballard

USAF Veteran Noel Green-Ballard

I now have children of my own who are the beneficiaries of the oath I took not too long ago. Not because they have the luxury of growing up with military minded parents who believe in the power of good order and discipline, but because they are living that life free from tyranny because I raised my right hand that fateful day.

As a Veteran, I believe serving my country was more than a career move, it was a calling on my life. A call to serve and to use the skills provided to continue to forge a path of service with the values instilled throughout my military career. Working and living with integrity, striving for excellence, and serving a purpose for the greater good and passing these values on to my children.

Even though I no longer wear that uniform, I continue to honor this oath and live with these core values as I work every day to create a better experience for my comrades in arms when I put on my business attire and walk into my job at the VA medical center.

I go in knowing that I, along with my fellow Veterans, have a call to service and I am able to continue this by serving those who have paved the way before me, borne the battle with me, and those who will carry the torch of service into the next generation. I am proud to be a Veteran.

About the author: US Air Force Veteran Noel Green-Ballard

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Published on Nov. 10, 2016

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