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The Nine Year Old Female Soldier

May 6, 2015

On September 11th, 2001 a tragedy occurred in New York City, Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania. For those of us old enough to remember it, we will never forget where we were, what we were doing. But, what about the ones we think were too young to remember? What impact did that terrible day have on the youngest and most innocent among us? 

Last weekend I attended two important events. The second one was on Saturday when I watched my daughter get her degree from Utah State University. I was understandably proud, as many parents are. However, what impacted me more than the graduation was the event the day before. Katrina Dawn Bliss stood up with her brothers in arms, raised her arm to the squared and sword to uphold the Constitution of the United States as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. 

I never had a chance to serve. My dad served, my brother served.

Several years ago, my freshman daughter called from college.

Dad, can I talk to you?

Sure, what’s up?

No. It’s something I need to tell you in person, you and Mom. 

We set a time for the following weekend. We tried a couple of questions, but it was obvious that our daughter wasn’t going to share any details until she saw us in person. 

What would you think? We were naturally curious, also a little worried. She was a good kid, but parents can come up with any number of senarios when given several days to worry over it. Finally the weekend arrived, and with it our daughter.

Sweety, whatever you have to tell us, we’re fine with it.

Mom, Dad? I joined the army.

Okay. But, what was it you needed to tell us? 

I’m not sure why she was so terribly worried about telling us. I’ve always been a huge fan of the military. Whatever the reason, I think she was surprised by our reaction. 

She joined the Army Reserves and explained to us that she wanted to become an army veteranarian. I didn’t even know the army had veteranarians. 

So, they take care of the horses? Military dogs?

Actually, Dad, they deploy around the world. When the army buys local meat in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, the veteranarians make sure the meat is healthy. They work with local herdsmen to improve their animal husbandry. 

My daughter had obviously been planning this for a long time. But, I didn’t know how long until later. 

Have you ever wondered when someone first set foot on the main track of their life? When did they start on the road that led them to be a four star general, or world famous musician, or founder of a software company?

Colin Powell, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and a four star general described in his autobiography, My American Journey how as a young man, he found his purpose in the ROTC program at a school in Harlem, NY. Billy Joel, the singer/songer explained in an interview how he set his life course while watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show as a child. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft tells the story of seeing an article in Popular Mechanics for the Altair 1000, one of the first programmable personal computers and how that led directly to the founding of Microsoft.. 

So, why the military, Katrina? 

It was a song.

Which one? 

Darryl Worley’s, “Have You Forgotten.”

That’s a song about September 11th.

Yeah, listening to that song I realized I wanted to help defend the country and prevent it ever happening again.

She was nine. The summer after the attacks, when the country had gotten back on our feet and were seriously going after those that had allowed this tragedy to occur, she turned nine and decided what she wanted to do with her life. 

Now, 14 years later, she’s accomplished a huge part of that goal.

And I couldn’t be prouder. 

When did you start on the path that led you to where you are today? 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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