In the past few weeks, there have been many posts across social media about loud booms, windows shaking and rattling across the Fort Hood area. In every post, there was one consistent response among the dozens of replies. The one constant — “this is the sound of freedom.”
And every time I read those six words, a smile grew on my face and pride filled my heart.
The sounds of freedom we hear on a regular basis on and around this installation reminds me of how prepared our troops are. It reminds me of how hard they are working. It reminds me of the sacrifices being made here at home and across the globe. It reminds me that we have the greatest force in the world.
Apart from the regular Army training that we hear most days, the Air Force was doing some training here. As I was reading more about their training here at the Great Place, I read a quote about how Fort Hood plays such a special role in other branches of service and their training mission.
“In order for us to be at our absolute best, we need to get the most realistic training we can to prepare for that,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Biancardi, the commander for the 11th Air Support Operations Squadron.
The training opportunities here at Fort Hood allow for the most realistic training and in turn allows our service members to be at their very best. How awesome to be reminded of the contributions of this installation and those who support it.
So we hear the sounds of the training exercises and they are most definitely the sounds of freedom, but that got me thinking about the other sounds that mean freedom.
What do we hear that conjure up the feeling of pride for this great nation, pride for our military, and pride for all those that have come before and will come after? Here are a few that struck me.
The daily Reveille and Retreat that takes place on installations is a distinct sound of freedom. One I have written about in the past and one I respect with my whole heart.
Next, there is national anthem. I guess this one is a given, and one that has become quite a controversial topic at times, but every single time I stand and cover my heart with my right hand, I can’t help the emotion that rushes over me.
The other sound of freedom that came to my mind was the Pledge of Allegiance. As a child, I remember standing every day in school by the side of my desk, hand over my heart, reciting the pledge. At the time, I don’t think I felt the pride I feel now, or even understood the impact. And yes — another controversial topic, but to me these are all symbolic sounds of freedom.
The last example is the oath one takes when joining the military. Last week, I attended a promotion ceremony for a chief warrant officer, and as he took his oath, it was another reminder of how there are so many different sounds of freedom.
Different sounds for each of us. All of you may not hear what I hear in all of these examples. For me, when I hear the training exercise, the national anthem, the daily Reveille and Retreat, and a service member taking the oath, I am proud to be an American, I am proud to be an Army spouse, and I am proud (and lucky) to be reminded of those fighting and supporting our rights every single day.
Reena O’Brien is an Army spouse and Herald Correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.