The favorite pair of jeans… that well-worn sweatshirt… the tattered t-shirt that has seen better days…. the ball cap that has topped your head and molded to your scalp… these closet essentials are more than just articles of clothing. They are extensions of our personalities. Every tear, every rip and every stain are reminders of memories made. With each wear, certain emotions are evoked – comfort, joy, sadness and even longing – helping to tell a story about who we are and where we’ve come from.
For me, my boots have become some of those special symbols – each pair with their own message; their own memories; their own attachment to a certain mental state. And I can’t pick just one; one twosome has been signed by the inspirations that led to the creation of Boot Campaign and its current mission – twins and Navy SEAL veterans Morgan and Marcus Luttrell.
Another pair is a tribute to the history of the organization and the milestone marking our 10-Year-Anniversary of serving veterans and military families well. I’ve worn them in Florida, in Texas, in New York, California and everywhere in between. Each time, at least one person asks, “what’s with the boots?”
My well-worn desert boots are a far cry from the bulky and heavy, combat-proven boots that many post 9/11 veterans wore at the start of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when I wear mine, I think of the many, like them, who enlisted in the military at 18 out of a deep desire to serve something bigger than themselves. I wear them to never forget the lives and legacies of those who have passed protecting our freedoms.
And still another pair symbolizes the future of where we as a society need to go to give back when veterans come back. Just as that pair of boots was born out of needs by the special operations community, so too, must our Army of civilians consistently innovate in our efforts to serve those who have served us first.
One thing is certain, no matter which pair I choose to lace up each day, the underlying purpose stays true: To unite Americans and restore the lives of veterans and military families. To honor, remember and celebrate the service and sacrifice of the less than 1% of Americans who raised their right hand to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Will you #LaceUpAMERICA?