The Ordinary Shirt - Tara's Story
Operation Desert Storm, 1991
I was 8 years old, and my dad left to go fight in a war that an 8 year old wouldn’t understand. I remember him writing my 3rd grade classmates individual letters in response to the ones we wrote him that accompanied donated canned goods. The real war started when he returned.
My dad, Richard suffered from “Desert Storm Syndrome” in which has been known to be caused by the chemical agents used while in the Middle East. He started having seizures, which led him to not be able to drive or do things he could prior to the war. It also claimed his life 9 years later.
It was one week from my 17th birthday, I was in cosmetology school and preparing to work in a hair salon upon graduation. I was torn and broken. Not knowing which direction I should take next in my life after graduation, I decided to follow my father’s footsteps in hopes to find a solid foundation for my life, and get out of the town I grew up in.
My goal was to reach the rank my father got out of the Army as, which was an E5/SGT. I never imagined then that I would have surpassed that. I have my dad to thank for paving the way for me to serve in the U.S. Army.
This camo camp shirt means a lot to me as we pay homage to my father and the other veterans who have paved the way and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to serve our country.