"I, , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
So help me God."
I remember that day. The words were projected onto a white cinder block wall for us to read. To the right of the screen there was an American flag in a weighted stand. The hardware and the eagle on the staff were gold. Someone must have had a detail to polish the hardware because it literally gleamed. There was a harsh overhead spotlight that shone only on the flag. It looked to me to be majestic; regal. The walls, except where the words were projected were painted the neutral colors of government buildings everywhere. The brown painted doors were the heavy steel industrial type and permanently propped open. .
The rest of the day was a whirlwind of tests, physical exams and paper work. I don’t remember what happened next but those few minutes I will never forget.
I read the words on the screen over and over again while we waited for everyone to process through into the room. I marveled at the exacting weight and placement of each word. Each word has meaning.
In all there were about 40 of us packed into that small cinderblock room.
It was one of the first times in my life that I was truly lonely. I took an oath. An oath that changed every second of my life afterwards. An oath that bound me to my country and I was the only one there to see it. My words were lost in the words of 40 others. Only I heard them. Just me…