I'm known to do anything for people, bend over backward for friends and family, go above and beyond, even just in the simple little things. It's not something I say to brag about, but putting my people as a priority in everything just comes second nature to me. I've always had a hard time understanding why people DON'T put their people first, ya know? If someone means anything to you, why do other things get in the way? Why are you "too busy" or why is it "too expensive" or "not convenient?" If that person is important to you, why does anything else matter?

As I was talking to my fiancé who happens to be a Marine, he said, "as cheesy as this sounds, all of my buddies are Marines. We look out for each other and make things happen for each other." And then it clicked. All my mom's military wife friends were always there with pre-made meals when dad deployed. All of my military brat friends also put friends first and it was second nature to them. For the past 4 years that I've been in college, I haven't been on a military base surrounded by those kinds of people and for the past 4 years, I kept getting stumped on why people don't look out for their friends as much.

And it clicked.

These people don't know what it's like to move every year to a new place and have people welcome them, make them feel at home and taken care of, only to say bye to you a year later. My college friends don't have friendships spread out all over the world from the military. My college friends never had a dad deploy or a buddy they work with, die minutes after sitting across from them.

None of this is to say that my college friends are terrible humans and uncaring friends, but there's a level of loyalty, dependability, and care that I've only found consistent in military men, wives and their children.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I know my military friends whom I maybe haven't seen in years, would drop anything and everything if I needed them. They're dependable beyond belief because they get it. They know life is short and uncertain and people always come first. Always.

To my military friends who were always quick to trust, build friendship, and love — thank you.

To the military wife friends of my mom who cooked, babysat, ran errands, and carpooled us when dad deployed — thank you.

To the men who fight for our country and our freedoms — thank you.

Dependability, loyalty, strength, resiliency, and innate care for your own people are wired into your beings and it's something I'll forever be grateful for. This, THIS, is why I cling to the military and have such a patriotic heart.