This is the nametape first issued with my uniform after enlisting in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. As a son of immigrants and a native Philadelphian – born during the country’s bicentennial year and sharing a birthday with the nation’s first president – I felt a particularly strong connection to the nation’s first capital city. My parents came to Philadelphia for work and raised my brother and me to be the best people we can be, so as I moved through my career in conflict resolution and peacemaking, I realized a void in my professional competency – that is, the military experience.
I share this piece as it is a part of me. It carries the memory of pride and sadness in my parents’ eyes – to see their son take an oath to defend the United States of America, but also wear the uniform of so many who would not make it home from deployment. I share my nametape to honor my family who chose Philadelphia as their home as I continue to try and make them proud as a servant to the city, state, and nation.