Proud to be an American

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Ferland, 312th Training Squadron Commander, reenlists Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs photojournalist craftsman, at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 24, 2105. This was McFarlane’s third reenlistment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Austin Knox/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Ferland, 312th Training Squadron Commander, reenlists Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs photojournalist craftsman, at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 24, 2105. This was McFarlane’s third reenlistment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Austin Knox/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs photojournalist craftsman, poses with Susan G. McFarlane, at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 24, 2105. Staff Sgt. McFarlane reenlisted after serving 13 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Austin Knox/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs photojournalist craftsman, poses with Susan G. McFarlane, at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 24, 2105. Staff Sgt. McFarlane reenlisted after serving 13 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Austin Knox/Released)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

I, Laura Rae Ann McFarlane, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

 

I originally took this oath Aug. 27, 2002 in Springfield, Massachusetts for a four-year enlistment and now, thirteen years later, I’ve taken the oath again.

 

I’d like to say that I joined for noble, patriotic reasons. At 21 years old, and still living at home, I needed to create a new path for myself, and the Air Force let me do just that.

 

My second time around, I reenlisted to see the world. The Air Force gave me the awesome opportunity to serve first as a photographer than as a photojournalist in several locations including California, Japan and finally here at Goodfellow with a brief “vacation” to Afghanistan after which I reenlisted again.

 

As I head into the Fourth of July weekend, I reflect on patriotism, the love, support and defense of one's country. Today I serve for my love of my country, for my family and for my friends.

 

I am proud to serve as an Airman in the United States Air Force. I am proud of my country and its people. I appreciate that when I am out and about in town in my uniform, I often have people stop and thank me.

 

As I start on the next chapter of my career, I look forward to continuing to serve my country and her people.

 

As Lee Greenwood, country music singer, put it, “And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend Her still today. 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the U.S.A.”

 

Happy Fourth of July.