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Stories of Us

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    I think about who we might have been if we weren’t colonized and enlisted into the machine. My mother’s birthday is October 12th, all my life it was on the calendar as Columbus day. My neighbor flies an American flag, his family has been in Oregon for five generations. His family came on the mayflower, that’s what he says when we first meet. Both my great grandfathers were murdered for their land in Mexico. They
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    What does it mean to serve as an Indigenous person? It means Columbus Day is a holiday you get off if you’re not on duty. We even get a 4-day weekend. If that isn’t incentive to continue to perpetuate settler colonialism through glorifying Christopher Columbus as some founding hero for Americans, I don’t know what is. Serving before Indigenous Peoples’ Day was a recognized holiday meant questioning my own reasons for joining and feeling like
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    Tennis great and Army officer Arthur Ashe once said “Being a Black man is like having another job.” That’s not one of the quotes you’re likely to find on the web: perhaps because it’s so not “inspiring.” Instead, his quote about not letting racism and sexism stop you from doing your best is prominent. In effect, this mindset puts the burden on the victims, not the perpetrators, to deal with those issues. Being a minority
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    For me, a Phoenix represents rebirth and regeneration. A phoenix is something born from the ashes that rises and is engulfed in the beauty of grandeur and strength. All veterans, regardless of time in service, rank, or discharge changes once they leave the armed forces. The transformation from sailor, marine, airman or soldier to civilian is a hard transition to make. In a symbolic sense, one is reborn after their service. The nature of this
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    If you were on an Acela train from Washington DC to New York City on the afternoon of August 24th, 2018, you might have seen a woman wearing earbuds doing a very poor job of not crying in public. That woman was me, and those were tears of joy. When I left the military at the end of 2012, I did not think I could ever identify as a “veteran” given that I fit approximately
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    My name is Tramese “Missy” Byrd. I am an African American, LGBTQ, disabled Veteran. At the age of 18 I signed a Division One basketball scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy. The campus felt like home, until I started acting differently and did not know why. During my junior year I began having manic episodes of depression. I would act out with no explanation. I remember yelling, running away, sobbing, and hiding for
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    When I think back to my childhood, I cannot remember a lot and the only feelings that stuck with me were anxiety and shame. I always felt different and less than. I was a nervous kid. Junior and Senior High School was a treacherous minefield. I was a little late on the development scale and I did not know what the hell was going on. I yearned to be popular, but it just was not
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    I signed up for the military a couple years after 9/11 happened. I was in DEP (Delayed Enlistment Program) while in high school and my family had something of a tradition or, more accurately, a necessity of doing one enlistment before moving on back to the civilian world. My father would tell my sister and I that after the service everything would feel easy by comparison because you’d know what “truly fucked” was like. If
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    When we hear the word patriot, what does that mean? Is it a straight forth answer or is it ambiguous? The official definition from the Oxford dictionary is “The quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.” The key phrase is “support for one’s country.” To some, this means to support the flag as symbolism for being thankful for their freedom. For others, this freedom has not been actualized. For many

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