By Rachel Francis
The place I call “home” is Hampton Roads, Va. Hampton Roads is an area comprised of seven cities—Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton and Portsmouth. Along with a huge Navy cloud around us because of Naval Station Norfolk (the largest Navy base in the world—Go Navy!), we are also home to major Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard facilities. To say that we are “Military Friendly” would be a drastic understatement: We are obsessed with the military. Growing up in a military town is something I never appreciated or loved more until I was older and able to reflect on the patriotism that runs through my blood because of this town. Here’s how you know you’re from a military town:
1. Jet noise warms your heart with the reminder of freedom while simultaneously making you want to bash your head into a wall for constantly having to pause and wait for the jet to go by so you can finish a sentence.
2. There is no American Flag-themed apparel that you will not wear. Give me the shoes, shorts, pants, shirts, bandanas, sunglasses, bathing suits (yes—pushing the white-trash line with the bikini…). I have them all and want more.
3. Someone in Starbucks always treats the men and women in uniform.
4. You cannot name one person you know that doesn’t have a family member, relative, or spouse connected to the military.
5. Your American flag flies year-round.
6. Navy SEALs are dead sexy.
7. OK, all men in uniform are dead sexy, but SEALs are really… extremely… dead sexy.
8. Jet noise is currently ruining your train of thought as you read this list.
10. When someone gets up to sing “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” by Toby Keith at the local dive bar, you always raise your glass and sing at the top of your lungs.
11. You cry tears of pride at the Memorial Day service at your local church by the number of men and women honored for serving our military.
12. At any moment you are ready to punch someone in the face for talking crap about the military.
13. You’ve contemplated the pros and cons of joining one of the branches yourself multiple times—half did actually join, and the other half will marry someone who joined.
14. You are humming the lyric “And you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A / ‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass / It’s the American way” because you just remembered how bad-ass that song is (see No. 10).
15. #MURICA is more than a hashtag to you—it’s the answer to the most basic of questions. “Why did you drink that much beer last night?” #MURICA. “Why must you add another gun to your already unnecessary large collection?” #MURICA. “Why are you wearing that trashy American flag bikini?” #MURICA!
Thank you to all the men and women that work each day or have worked in the past to make sure we can live in this beautiful land of the free. You will always have a home in Hampton Roads. Thank you for your service. #MURICA
Photo from Creative Commons.[divider] [/divider]
Rachel is 25 years old living in southern Virginia. She graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental health science yet lives as poet and writer in her mind. She is obsessed with her two dogs, Max and Moxie, and spends most of her free time cooking, watching “Lockup” and enjoying the simple beauty of life.