In 2011 I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. That Marathon was my very first and one I will never forget. We started the race at the Arlington Cemetery and the moment of silence during the pre-race starting line-up was breathtaking. To think that all those crosses were people who died for me and for you. 

So, this morning I was running at a local gym and wore my Marine Corps Marathon in Training shirt. On the back of this shirt reads SEMPER FI. Do you know what that means? Semper Fi is the motto of the US Marine Corps and means ALWAYS FAITHFUL. I find that to be fitting and absolutely beautiful. 

Faith is trusting what you do now know, but our Marine Corps continues on despite those unknowns. They would choose to die for a nation of people they do not know and protect at even the ultimate cost.

As I am running I feel a tap on my left shoulder and see a fairly muscular man standing behind me as he is leaving the gym. He intently sticks out his hand for a handshake and as return the gesture we firmly shake hands as he says, “SEMPER FI!” I’ve never felt so in awe and inadequate all at the same time. 

I quickly correct the misunderstanding and explain the truth behind my shirt. I tell him that I had a brother who signed up for the Marine Corps when he was of age and he tells me that he served for four years. I deeply thank him for his service and part ways. To tell you I was a blubbering mess is an understatement.

It’s been six years since I ran that race and I have worn this shirt countless times. Today was the first time that I have ever been approached in this way and it really convicted my heart. How many times do we pass by people around us and don’t acknowledge them? How many times do we pass by civilians who were once soldiers, but we don’t thank them?

Here I am — A MERE CIVILIAN — being thanked for serving a country I never served!! To say I feel inadequate is only scratching the surface, but I feel it gave me a renewed perspective on the appreciation deserved to our men and women whom have and do serve. Soldiers are some of the most humble human beings I know and they deserve respect. This leads me to one more point.

RESPECT!! We say all the time that respect is earned not given. Sorry, not sorry, if I step on toes, but our military undoubtedly deserves our respect. 

A few weeks ago, when I was getting my running coach certification, the man teaching the course asked me a question. Mind you that this man ran in the Olympic Trials back in the ‘90s so, he was already in higher standing in my eyes. Any-who, he asked me if I had served in the military. 

I told him no, but again spoke of my brother and about the short time I was a “military kid” — that’s a different story. The point of bringing this up was to affirm how the lives we lead as adults are highly navigated by influence imparted to us as children. See, he and I were having a conversation and I kept calling him “Sir.” 

First off, I’m originally from Texas and being that I am a southern woman m’am and sir and two of the first words you learn as a child. I’m currently reminding my two-year-old daily of this and it’s not the most easy task. However, this is a form of spoken respect I will go to my grave saying. 

My question, why is it that the assumption was made I was in the military because of my spoken respect? I see two lessons to be taken away from these scenarios that I hope to forever know and impart on my own daughter, discipline and respect.

Understand that I’m not talking about discipline in the sense of scolding a child or punishing someone for their misconduct. I’m talking about discipline in the sense of humbled humility, that you see your imperfections and take the necessary steps to be a “better” human. I use the word “better” loosely because we all have different views on the meaning and that’s NOT the point of this particular post. 

Waking up EARLY to perform exercises or work duties toward my self-development is not always fun. Discipline is one of the qualities I see in most men and women who have or do serve our country. Sometimes I feel inadequate and unworthy of being better, but by doing so I impart that quality on my daughter. As she gets older I pray she will see that discipline is not saying, “You are bad.” I see discipline as a way of saying, “You have potential and can be better.”  Besides, our nation and world need better.

Lastly, RESPECT. Respect is something taught and learned. We must cultivate respect in every generation, today and tomorrow. Respect is the when we acknowledge someone for committing to lay down their life for a nation of people they do not know — yet they believe in. Respect is saying, “Yes m’am. No m’am. Yes sir. No sir.” Respect is being slow to anger and humbling yourself. Respect is listening when another needs to be heard. My opinion, respect is given EVEN when we feel it has not been earned because you never know how the DISCIPLINE of showing respect will influence someone else’s life, for the better.

Imperfectly Yours,


To the known soldier and the unknown soldier, thank you. Thank you for your commitment to our nation. Thank you for protecting not just my own future, but the future of my daughter that has yet to be seen. Thank you for saying no to selfish pride, for your humbleness, your discipline and respect. You are the true heroes, may it never be forgotten. For many have paid the ultimate price that words will never console, but may your life spent always be honored. 

Thank you, soldier.