A Soldier is a Girl’s Best Friend…Happy Memorial Day

It’s that time of the year when we honor the soldiers who have served and continue to serve the United States of America. I don’t normally do this on my blog, but…

I can’t think of a better way to honor and recognize one soldier in particular for the sacrifices he has made for our country and my family, as well as the selflessness he has taught me as a friend.

I’ve known him since we were 13. (I’m older.) Here we are with our church crew, circa 1994. He’s wearing the cream-colored suit.
We went to a church dance together and he always reminds me of how I told him that he wasn’t a real man. (I actually wrote it in my diary.)

I’ve been privileged to see him grow and nearly 20 years later, I can say he’s become, without a doubt, a real man…and one of the greatest friends in my life.

To the U.S. military, he was known as Airmen and Sargeant Bernal.

For the Department of State, he became Captain Bernal…a government contract firefighter who tamed aircraft explosions in Afghanistan and trained Iraqis to put out their own fires.

As a civilian, he introduces himself as Juan- just as his sweet Cuban mother named him. But to his close friends, the ones he would do anything for, he is simply Carlos.

In a letter he once wrote me from boot camp, he said, “This place is the bomb!”

To list the ways he has served me and my family would prove to be a ridiculously long list, so I’ll spare you. Just know that I have seen proof of our nation’s military churning out loyal and dedicated soldiers who deserve all the respect they’ve earned.

Not only do we have my friend to thank for keeping us Americans safe and proud, I have him to thank for keeping me sane and laughing throughout this roller coaster ride called life.

I am proud to honor you and your service today and always, Carlos.

Is there a soldier you plan to honor this weekend?


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