Staff Sgt. Houston Simpson, 86th APS

Sept. 11, was the beginning of my ninth-grade year in high school. Before that, I had never truly considered joining the military or had a desire to serve my country in such a manner. After that day, I began to feel a little different. As the days after Sept. 11 began to pass, I started thinking about how I could contribute to my country. In ninth grade, I felt as though there was little I could do in this regard, but I began to look for different avenues I could take in my life to benefit not only myself, but the lives of my family, friends and the prosperity of my country. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to be a piece of one the world's largest mosaics, I wanted to give back to my country, a country that had given so much to me. I have chosen to serve the people of this country to up-hold and "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." because I believe that our country is great. Shortly after graduating from high school, I spoke with a Coast Guard Reserve recruiter, because the events of Sept. 11 opened my eyes to the injustices of our world, to some of the many wrongs of our time and it opened my eyes to the sword and shield that protects our great country and its citizens. The United States military. I recently transferred to the Air Force Reserve after serving with the U.S. Coast Guard. (Courtesy photo)

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