Friday, March 16, 2012

SSgt. Taylor appreciates response to letter

Dear Editor:
  Recently I submitted a letter to the editor titled Hope Defines Us: So Persist.  It is not often in life that we really feel that we have made an impact, but I am thankful for your outpouring of support in response to this message. America is not a cliché, it is real because of people like you.
  I want to publicly thank the following people for their kind words: Moscow resident Randy Hayes for your amazing support, the students of Twin Falls High School, the President of the University of Idaho, the Latah County Sheriff’s Office, the Moscow Police Department, the Long Beach California Police Department, and the Los Angeles California Police Department. Additionally, I want to thank all those who continue to share the message that America still exists as long as there is hope in you. In the coming months I will be heading home and I have one more message for you.
  It is clear that many of you come from struggling families and are in struggling communities.  Regardless of that adversity we must always remember that we are what we repeatedly do and I need you to think about that.
  It doesn’t matter if you are from a poor or rich family, wear nice or dirty clothes, and live in a bad or good neighborhood. All that matters is that you believe inside of you that you were meant for something more, that you are worth something more, and if you have to be the only one believing that then so be it. Be a ruggedly determined doer to heck with what everyone else thinks.
  I am passionate about this because I was that kid who was bounced around in high school. I came out of an abusive home and lived with people who had a troubled past. I was lucky enough to work at the local Benedicts Athletic Center just to pay rent at the friend’s homes I was staying at. I almost gave up, I almost gave in. I knew though that I may have to work harder and longer, but I could be successful.
  For me, that determination was founded in proving someone wrong. Many of you likewise are trying to prove a seemingly apathetic world wrong so I will share more of my story. When I was younger my efforts to get an education were challenged frequently and on one occasion because of my social status I was told “You are trash, you will always be trash, and the sooner you realize that the better off you will be.”
  As you can imagine that impacted me a lot, and I could have accepted it and gave up and gave in, but I made a decision because it was mine alone to make. I decided right then and there that I would prove that statement wrong. I would believe I was worth more even if it meant being the first to achieve what had never been done before in my family’s history, be a college graduate. I believed there was Hope in America and my life proves that to be true, as I began in the arms of a 15 year old mother and have achieved so much despite the opposition. You can do the same regardless of where you are at in life. You don’t need a politician to tell you what you already know to be true inside you, that you are capable.
  I believe in you, so while you look around and wonder where you fit in everyone else’s popularity totem pole also look inside and make a decision to put yourself at the top of your totem pole. Choose to be more by doing more. Choose to put education and learning first in whatever sphere you are engaged in and have faith that every little step towards that impossible goal will become a triumph at the end of your journey.
  Be a Thomas Edison, break a thousand light bulbs until you make one that works because in that day the triumph of the journey will be the prize not the end point. America is not the land that gives you something for nothing. America is the place that if you want it you can go get it with hard work and nothing can stop you. There is still hope in America if you have hope in you.
SSgt David S. Taylor, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

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